Sean Finnegan Leaves Vibrant to Claim Top Digital Spot at SMG

In-text ad network Vibrant Media scored a coup last winter when it hired Sean Finnegan away from OMG Digital, where he was CEO, to be its chief media officer. Now, a mere six months later, he’s returning to the agency world and a job with Starcom MediaVest Group as president and chief digital officer.

At OMG Digital Finnegan oversaw interactive channels and services including search, mobile, gaming, and analytics. He left to join Vibrant, a firm he’ll continue to serve as an unpaid advisor, to “immerse myself wholly in an all-digital environment.”

Finnegan believes the distinction between agencies and platforms is not as clear as some might think.

“I truly don’t see our spaces as…hardly delineated,” he said. “Both sides are interested and involved in client strategy, technology matters and creativity. There really isn’t a tremendous amount of difference between the two.”

Returning to the agency world, he now sees a need for media agencies to better connect their planning activities with creative development. That’s all the more urgent as evidence mounts that advertisers are easing off the throttle on their display ad spending while accelerating search and other performance driven ad vehicles.

“The display question is…a little bit of a wake-up call for our industry to start to pay serious attention to development, customization, and innovation in the design area,” he said.

Finnegan blamed the lack of attention to creative excellence on an obsession with relevancy, saying marketers shouldn’t shirk on production just because research has suggested ad relevancy outweighs creativity.

“A text ad is as impactful as a video spot, and that’s…well and good,” he said. However, “creatives really have an opportunity to take relevancy and give marketers more opportunities.”

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