Digiday+ Member Article

Amazon is making serious moves in advertising — that much is clear. Its latest move is the announcement of 2,000 more jobs, mostly in the ad team, in New York City, a clear sign of how much it needs to cozy up to Madison Avenue executives. 

There’s no doubt Amazon has the goods: It has the data, the targeting and has serious muscle in the attribution sphere, all of which ostensibly make it a serious contender to the power of Google and Facebook in the industry. But the encroachment of Amazon into this world still shows how much “culture,” that amorphous term, is prized. Multiple agency executives I’ve spoken to still think Amazon has work to do in trying to cozy up to ad executives — and most of that work is not related to its tech prowess. “They really have to learn to speak our language,” said one top agency exec. Pressed on what that really means, the exec found it hard to explain, but only said that it’s “cultural.” Perhaps it’s speaking agency language, or maybe it’s the more prosaic wining and dining that still remains important in this industry. Among execs, there seems to be an unspoken rule that Amazon won’t change the way it works to accommodate advertisers. The Seattle-based Amazon itself has admitted that it’s working with agencies more, but it seems like what is missing is an understanding of the very different culture still omnipresent in the ad business. — Shareen Pathak

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