A Danish startup that threatens to disrupt traditional media agencies is coming to the UK

The relationship between traditional media agencies and marketers couldn’t be more strained, with concerns rife over agencies not being upfront about how much money they’re making from marketers.

It is against this backdrop that a Danish media agency that is not financially dependent on how much an advertiser spends because it takes a fixed monthly fee is poised to launch in the UK following successful debuts in Germany and the US.

It might sound too good to be true but it’s a pitch that was good enough to woo Volkswagen away from MediaCom in Germany earlier this year, as well as impressing Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club and Uber rival Lyft. The reason is down to a preference for artificial intelligence over humans when it comes to advising advertisers on media spend.

Marketers use Blackwood Seven’s interface to buy across online and traditional channels like TV and radio, which media owners have made available via ad exchanges. The mix is optimised by an algorithm that uses data from various sources such as YouGov, Nielsen and ad spend trackers to predict the business results of a media plan, spanning everything from brand value to store traffic. Advertisers also plug in their own sales data, allowing them to see in near real-time which of their media investments are generating the best returns.

Like other artificial intelligence systems, the algorithm gets smarter the more data it is fed. Marketers can do all this from their smartphone whenever they want without the need for daily check-ins with their media agency or attempting to navigate a convoluted dashboard. And unlike media agencies, marketers need only pay a monthly SaaS fee to use the platform.

Running campaigns in this way negates any need for Blackwood Seven to cut secret deals with media companies due to the fact that it’s not reliant on the commission a traditional agency would get from total media spend. Nor is it bound to ad spend deals to publishers or of the habit of purchasing ad inventory to then sell on to clients at mark-up, as has been known to happen at their media agency counterparts.

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