Bloomberg exec Paul Marcum joins agency Truffle Pig as president: ‘A transformative time in the industry’

Paul Marcum has hit the trifecta.

The former brand and publishing exec is now trying his hand at going agency-side, taking on a new role as president at Truffle Pig, the agency co-owned by WPP, Snapchat and the Daily Mail that was announced in Cannes in June.

Marcum, who comes from Bloomberg, where he headed global digital video, was previously a well-known marketing executive at GE, where he helped drive that company’s digitally-focused content strategy. While he was at GE, he connected with Alexander Jutkowitz, CEO of WPP’s SJR Group, which does a lot of GE’s content work. Jutkowitz is now CEO of Truffle Pig.

We caught up with Marcum to find out what’s going on at the company.

We’ve asked this question many times, but let’s hear it from you, because people are still confused. What exactly does Truffle Pig do?
As [Jutkowitz] says, it’s going to put marketers a year ahead. We’re built on the foundation of insights of what publishers and platforms need,  and we are able to deliver on the programs marketers need.

So basically, we’re making content programs that scale across platform and publisher. There’s definitely a hybrid approach: it’s not just social media, not just traditional publishing and not just content.

How do you feel about the new gig?
[Laughs] It’s amazing to announce that I’m joining an ad agency right as the most historic time in ad blocking has begun. But that makes it so interesting. This is a transformative time in the industry.

What’s happened since Truffle Pig launched at Cannes? Is there any work you can share?
There are a number of clients and projects in development right now and a significant amount has been pitched out there already. In terms of work, nothing is ready yet and I can’t share it.

But, it’s interesting you mention Cannes. This was the year that the branded content category yet again didn’t announce a Grand Prix. That points to an opportunity out there for Truffle Pig and the industry overall. We realize what we need to do now.

Which is what?
I think that if you’re able to create great content and great creative with the insight we have into publishers, which we have with the Daily Mail, and insight into platforms, which is what we have with Snapchat, and bringing to life our best ideas that will be cohesive with the platform and publisher opportunity but will also be differentiated as well. That is a unique position for partners today. That’s what we’re doing.

Are you working with other publishers?
Yes. We are. We’re talking to lots of other people.

Snapchat’s audience is pretty unforgiving when it comes to brand advertising.
Yes. It’s true. It all comes down to the creative. We know that. We saw the performance of ad blockers in the App Store last week. The bargain is being negotiated. The way in is to produce great stuff.

So is ad blocking ethical?
I’m not an ethicist. It’s hard for me to answer that with any depth of ethical expertise. But I will say there is value for everyone in marketing messages.

As long as there is a consumer demand for a type of software that software is going to be available. It’s something where publishers and marketers and agencies need to learn together and find solutions that don’t under-serve the user. I produced banners back in the day. I know there’s an issue here.

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