Undertone’s Patrick Cartmel Moves from Agency to Ad Provider

Patrick Cartmel is the VP National Accounts, Undertone. Patrick has spent the last 15 years on the agency side, at companies including MEC and Avenue A. We recently spoke with Patrick about his move to Undertone.

The Makegood: Patrick, tell us a little bit about your background and experience.

PC: For the past 10 years I’ve been agency side helping clients like Microsoft, Kraft, and Mastercard navigate the digital ecosystem. From 2005 to 2010 I was Managing Director at MEC Interactive and, more recently, I was VP, Global Client Services Director for Team Microsoft at Wunderman.

The Makegood: While on the agency side, what was your perception of the ad provider space?

PC: Crowded and rapidly evolving. Automated buying and new entrants to the digital ad market, particularly in the social space, have disrupted the ecosystem and prompted some shifts, alliances and M&A that would have seemed highly unlikely just a few years ago. The Aol, Yahoo!, MSN partnership is a good example of this. Many thought the partnership would have a major impact on the industry. I disagreed and still do. Rather, I equate it to the creation of a Euro Zone among countries in the midst of a cold war. Regardless of your view on this, it highlights the state of flux the industry is in, which I think brings substantial opportunities for ad providers that have the right focus and long term view.

The Makegood: So you’ve made quite a switch. What made you move from agency to ad provider?

PC: Automation, and the commoditization of display that it spawned, has lost some of its shiny new object luster. Buyers, and in particular brand marketers, are showing a real appetite for more front canvas, creatively led solutions, whether through display or video, and whether across PCs, mobile or tablets. I could see that Undertone was optimizing its business and product suite to address this new paradigm. The company’s high impact product suite and publisher-direct traffic acquisition model makes Undertone perfectly positioned to capitalize on the migration of brand dollars online. That’s the exciting end of the digital ad space right now, which is what got me interested in the role.

The Makegood: Your title is of VP National Accounts. What does that mean?

PC: This is a newly created role for Undertone and one that centers on adding further value to our major national accounts. I’m focused on shifting the conversation with these key clients away from tactical, campaign led discussions to more strategic conversations. We’ve got a wealth of data, insights and thought leadership that can add real value to these accounts, both at the agency and client level. This more consultative and strategic approach to selling will enhance the value exchange that we offer these advertisers. Having worked agency side for so many years I can clearly see the value that this structure provides.

The Makegood: You’re just over a month in. Has your view of the ad provider space changed at all?

PC: No, it only strengthens my view. There’s a really clear bifurcation that’s happening between the automated and highly commoditized buying models on the one hand, and the more creatively led advertising solutions on the other. Undertone is squarely focused on the latter, which is the right side of the equation to be on. This is what big brand advertisers are focused on and where the next phase of innovation and value is coming from.

The Makegood: Thanks, Patrick.