Profile: Abby Auerbach

Mar 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Executive VP, Television Bureau of Advertising, a broadcast-industry trade association focused on local broadcast television and local broadcast ad sales.
Recent interesting deal: “Back when I ran the local broadcast buying group at Ogilvy…one of my favorites was Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Sears owned the network time in a prime family movie special but was worried about getting ambushed in the local markets. We bought up the critical local time in key retail markets for our traditional network clients who wanted Thanksgiving night but were shut out of the national opportunity. Sears got protection, and major network advertisers got placement. It was a great moment for the strategic use of spot television.”
The next big thing: “EDI [Electronic data interchange]. The current process of selling and buying time is inefficient and costly on both sides of the desk. Enabling the process with technology will create more time for professional buying and selling and result in more dollars for spot TV.”
Is there anything you wish you had bought less of: “We buy and sell too many big ideas with too few executions. We buyers and sellers have worn out more commercials in a single event by making a couple of great ads do all the work. It happens in the Super Bowl; we see it in the Olympics and in most of the large television events that require multiple executions to secure exclusivities. The challenge is to find new and creative ways to get the message out without quadrupling production costs and cluttering the event.”
Is there anything you wish you had bought more of: “Connecting in a market through local news, sponsorships and locally produced programs can really help build a brand. Geography is more predictive of product sales than demography. Wish we’d got to buy more that way.”
If you weren’t in media: “As a design and marketing major, I thought I was destined for account work. If I had it to do over? Architecture.”