On a sunny Friday afternoon, just before the Hamptons rush began, Pictela chief executive officer Greg Rogers spent his workday lounging poolside at a glamorous Watermill estate, a few steps away from a swimsuit model who was posing for photos. Perhaps lounging is a bit of a stretch. But Rogers was on hand to oversee a photo shoot for Pictela, his technology company that provides brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Macy’s with premium advertising formats on the Web.
This story first appeared in the June 15, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The idea that a technology company would produce a big-budget, model-driven photo shoot might be a bit confusing to outsiders, but Rogers and Pictela’s chief marketing officer, Matt Straz, wanted to show they practice what they preach to their clients. “We want to make the Web more beautiful,” said Rogers. “The video and images from this shoot will be used to promote the company across our platform. People typically think of B to B sites as functional and boring. We’re changing that.”
Pictela’s photo shoots have made an impression on retailers and led to brands such as Victoria’s Secret working with Pictela to help make the leap from a print catalogue to presenting it online. Rogers noted that 12 percent of ad spend right now is going to digital marketing. “It’s shifting but it’s moving slowly,” he said. “As the next generation of marketers emerge, we’ll see it move even more. Burberry is held up as the leader of how to do online marketing. They were our first international client, actually.”
One of the most effective ways of doing this will come by using apps. “Over the next five years you’ll see premium publishers will begin to beautify their pages and reduce the number of ads,” he said. “The future of advertising will be immersive by using apps.” He said Kohl’s uses a photo app, store locator app and Facebook feed. Procter & Gamble uses a photo app, Facebook feed and polling app to get a sense of what customers are thinking and Macy’s uses Twitter, along with photo and video gallery apps.
Pictela was given a bigger platform (and larger budget to play with) when AOL acquired the company in December. “This year, it’s all about premium brand experiences for our clients,” said Rogers.