May 17, 2020
By Kelby Clark
The team of executives emphasize the power of partnership as they head into an unconventional upfront season.
ViacomCBS’ roster of advertising sales executives humanize the company’s new mantra: simply stronger.
“Our newly integrated team across ViacomCBS has come together even more quickly than I could have expected despite the pressure of extenuating circumstances,” wrote Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer of domestic advertising sales at ViacomCBS, in a note to advertisers earlier this month. “This incredible progress gives me optimism for the days ahead.”
ViacomCBS became the first media company to announce a digital upfront in place of its annual Carnegie Hall presentation and agency dinners. The two-day event, beginning May 18, will be the first time the offerings of the newly merged organization are presented holistically to the advertising community. In a time where reach and scale are considered to be table stakes, the combined ViacomCBS has the largest share of total viewership among key demos and the most-watched broadcast network. With inventory spanning linear and digital, and leading advanced advertising and creative capabilities, it also offers what many on the sales team refer to as a “one-stop shop” for advertisers.
In the lead up to the virtual reveal, the ViacomCBS Newsroom spoke with the ad sales leadership team about the power of the combined portfolio, their go-to-market message, and how they predict the industry will move forward.
"We have already achieved what we hoped to accomplish in bringing our sales organizations together—one team with a unified mission to provide our partners with the most powerful, seamless advertising solutions in the industry."
“Fundamentally, it’s our mission to help brands achieve their core business goals.”
"The breadth and depth of our audience is what makes us unique. We are the sixth largest internet company in the U.S. covering virtually every consumer passion point—Entertainment, News, Sports, Music, Tech, Games, and Kids and Family. Because of all of this amazing content, we're able to offer brands a young, lean-in, cord-cutting audience that complements linear."
“What we are bringing to the table in this upfront season is the ability for partners to connect with custom marketing campaigns on so many more levels. We have three, distinct marketing teams dedicated to providing creative solutions with CBS Eyemax, CBS Interactive’s Integrated marketing team, and Viacom Velocity, which give us the ability to integrate across some of the most valuable IP, in addition to creating bespoke messaging across linear, connected video, social and experiences.”
"We have the most diverse portfolio of assets of any major media company out there, with programming that caters to broad audiences and specific demos and includes broadcast, cable, and digital. That makes this upfront different for us. It puts us in a better position."
"Clients cannot wait for live sports to be back. Our sports portfolio is just first class, from the PGA Tour, to the SEC Conference, to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, to the NFL."
"As a Convergent Ad Sales team, our mission has always been to deliver impactful multi-platform solutions to our clients, maximizing our revenue potential across all screens. What we’re most excited about is the incredible opportunity we have to extend our breadth of capabilities across the entire ViacomCBS ecosystem."
"We believe in partnership. We always have. These are unbelievably challenging times, and we're here for every agency and every client. However our clients want to come to market, we will work with them, and it will be on agency-by-agency, client-by-client, case-by-case basis."
"The collaboration that I've seen between the CBS and Viacom legacy sales teams is just remarkable. We have come together as if we've always been together. Everybody's invested in the same goal. I don't think this happens all that easily, and I don't think it happens this successfully everywhere."
"Clients have been leaning into data and advanced advertising and we are there in a big way. They are also looking for flexibility. That can have different meanings depending on the client. We are listening and finding solutions."
“When using advanced advertising to target niche, strategic audiences, you have to start with a massive audience. As we say, ‘you have to be big to go small,’ and no media company reaches more multi-platform TV viewers than ViacomCBS.”
“Clients realize that to reach everyone, they need to be everywhere and in a coordinated and combined way. We can do that —at real scale."
“I have the good fortune to see our team in action every day with our most important accounts. The level of trust that top marketers have with the ViacomCBS sales team is truly remarkable. As the ad world has been turned upside down, the value of a personal relationship has never been higher and that is our competitive advantage.”