Inside agency Resolution Media’s ambitions in retail media


The retail space is transforming rapidly: Big retailers like Amazon and Walmart are becoming advertising platforms, and individual brands also want to optimize their own e-commerce channels.

In response, Omnicom-owned agency Resolution Media, which has 60 offices, 2,600 employees and handles more than $3.4 billion of ad spending, rolled out a retail media solution on Nov. 2. Called CommerceConnect, it includes various services ranging from how to use Amazon’s advertising offerings and buy media on traditional retailers’ websites to managing brands’ own e-commerce channels. Resolution Media said that advertisers who use this platform can also benefit from the agency’s data partnerships with big retailers, and analytics solutions from Omnicom’s data unit Annalect.

This move looks like the Omnicom shop’s answer to WPP-owned Triad Retail Media in the retail media war.

“Traditionally, you had merchandising focused on in-store strategy and advertising as a separate discipline. But now, the two are converging,” said George Manas, president of Resolution Media. “You have Amazon and other traditional retailers like Walmart getting into the advertising game. What we’ve built is geared toward helping clients get into the retail commerce space.”

Like many agencies that have started offering Amazon-specific services, Resolution Media considers Amazon a big focus under its CommerceConnect offering. Manas said his team developed engineering and data relationships with Amazon Marketing Services (paid search), Amazon Advertising Platform (programmatic) and Amazon Media Group (managed-service programmatic). At Resolution Media, a team of more than 40 is solely focused on search and content optimization on Amazon, and the agency is building a programmatic practice (which currently has over 40 people) for Amazon Advertising Platform. The agency also developed an intelligence engine to help clients digest Amazon data, according to Manas.

“Amazon is a tremendous ecosystem that requires deep expertise to manage,” he said. “Clients really struggle with how to make sense of [Amazon’s ad offerings] and build a strategy on the platform.”

For instance, GSK has been working with Resolution Media to refine the brand’s paid search marketing, programmatic buying and content marketing on Amazon. “When I first started marketing on Amazon, I bought paid search advertising with my corporate credit card. I was overwhelmed with the complexity and the skill set that Amazon paid search management required,” said Steve Kinsey, senior manager of U.S. e-commerce strategy for GSK. “But now, we are buying paid search directly from Amazon through Resolution’s enterprise relationship with the platform.” Kinsey added that content in product listings is the first and foremost on Amazon, and paid search can help optimize that content.

For instance, his team and the Resolution Media team found that when they promoted Nicorette, a product that helps people stop smoking, the phrase “quit smoking” was more persuasive than “stop smoking” based on shoppers’ keyword searches on Amazon. So GSK used the verb “quit” in its product description on Amazon.

In addition to Amazon, Resolution Media is building programmatic solutions that deliver shoppable ad formats across the web through its existing demand-side platforms and direct relationships with large retailers, including Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Best Buy. Manas declined to elaborate on how his team is working with those large retailers, but he said unlike Triad Retail Media, his agency is not going to help the likes of Walmart and CVS create ad units to sell.

“What I can tell you is, there is a new retail paradigm where we will continue working directly with Walmart and Walgreens, et cetera,” said Manas. “Triad is not the only opportunity for you to work with Walmart from a media perspective, for instance.”

The CommerceConnect offering also includes helping clients from a direct-to-consumer perspective, which includes customer conversion rate optimization, customer lifetime value modeling and customer relationship management integration, according to Manas.

“In today’s digital economy, retail is reimagined,” he said. “Commerce is happening online and offline, media is becoming shoppable and retailers are becoming media companies.”

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