So O&M is tearing down the financial walls that separate the different operating groups within it, starting in the U.S., with a promise that all other markets will follow over the course of the year.

After a long period of talk and nice conference discussions, is the start of 2017 finally turning out to be the start of really doing something about transparency? With today's massive P&G announcement, it would certainly appear so. We've had a lot of talk and it's probably fair to say that media agencies have had to be, shall we say, "inventive" with how they keep margins up -- but could we now be seeing a year of clamp-downs?

John Gallegos, Founder and CEO of independent creative agency Grupo Gallegos, announced the launch of a new communications group named UNITED COLLECTIVE.

Created by ALMA, the Miami-based Multicultural Ad Agency, the vision was to continue to deepen consumer awareness and affinity through the love and connection to music. This new spot builds on the latest thread and trilogy of musical driven creative featuring the former Verizon spokesperson, Paul Marcarelli, who switched to Sprint.

While agencies morph into something different, they are encountering new competition in the form of consulting agencies looking to broaden their areas of influence.  

On the eve of Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States of America, we surveyed industry executives -- both advertisers and agencies -- to find out how they felt the Trump Administration would impact their lives, both personally and professionally.

This week, I was honored to be named to the board of AHAA, the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. Having co-founded a Hispanic advertising agency over 15 years ago, I see the opportunity to serve on AHAA’s board as a huge aha moment in my Hispanic marketing career.

As 2016 ends, there’s no denying that the booming Hispanic market made headlines – in the political and economic sectors as well as in digital and consumer trends. But what does 2017 mean for Hispanic marketing? At AHAA, we believe we will see an increase in multicultural media spend by just under ten percent with digital accounting for about a third of that growth. Still lagging behind the general market, digital media investment is on the brink of an explosion in the Hispanic and multicultural sectors, and we anticipate big gains in search advertising and live video formats in the next two years.  By: AHAA Chair Linda Gonzalez, president of viva partnership

Yes, consolidation will be a major theme -- and it's not just about the traditional food chain of small to medium to larger independent to holding company. The consultants are now out there too, as Accenture's recent purchase of Karmarama showed. So to get bigger billings, revenue will have to be bought in the hope that a big bid comes in from a larger agency, or consultancy, which can offer some form of protection from billings heading down. It's kind of an endless circle, isn't it?

LAPIZ was named the official agency of record for Advance Auto Parts' general market business. The agency has managed the retailer's Hispanic market work since 2014, and will now lead marketing efforts for both general and Hispanic markets across North America.

Two things we heard a lot about in 2016 were “autonomous cars” and “bots,” but rarely in the same sentence. True, they both share the common thread of AI, which powers the “self” in self-driving cars (computer vision, decisioning) and the chatty personalization of bots. But that’s where the similarity ends, because most bots don’t employ real AI or machine learning, but are just collections of “if-then” statements in a new package.

Make your bed, then sleep in it. Right? Well, whenever something happens in the advertising industry that brands don't like, it's well worth a little more self-examination behind the causes. Sure, big agencies are not exactly innocent creatures who should avoid blame -- but let's be honest, 2016 has been the year of blaming agencies for everything under the sun. So how about a reality check?

New business development is often a difficult task for ad agencies. In addition to the day-to-day upkeep required for current clients, agencies must also constantly perform the challenging work of searching out new opportunities and partners. According to research, the process doesn't appear to be getting any easier.

Given the healthy short- and long-term impact of media advertising, marketers should realign a share of promotional dollars to media to stop brand erosion. This shift will enable marketers to reinforce brand equity, support shopper loyalty and drive consistent brand growth.

Ten years ago, the partners at our ad agency did an offsite meeting to plan our future. We were small and scrappy and talent-laden, but like the vast majority of agencies, we lacked any real point of differentiation.

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