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Brian Morrissey on Why We’ll Never Escape Advertising and Why 2021 May Represent a Return to Sanity in Digital Publishing

December 16, 2020



Longtime Digiday Editor-in-Chief and Founder of The Rebooting, Brian Morrissey digs into which advertising and media trends from the wild year that was 2020 will stick, and which won’t have much lasting impact in the new year. Despite all the privacy updates and regulation, he believes that brands and ad tech companies will always find a way to adapt. Brian also discusses the parallels he sees in the recent fallout in digital publishing and the various business model pivots that industry has seen and the still-saturated DTC brand sector.



Mike Shields (19s):
Hey guys, this is Mike Shields, and this week on Next in Marketing, we had a very special guest for our 2020 year end episode, my old boss and colleague Brian Morrissey, longtime Editor-in-chief at Digiday. Brian and I talked about why despite recent upheaval and digital media, he’s actually very hopeful for the future of web publishing.

Mike Shields (34s): Brian also explains why he sees parallels between digital media and the overcrowded and much hyped DTC brand space. We talked predictions for 2021, why he’s not worried about people increasingly finding ways to avoid ads, and his new Miami lifestyle. Let’s get started.

Mike Shields (49s):
Alright. Hi, everybody. Welcome to Next in Marketing. I’ve got a very special guest here to help us close out 2020, the joy that it was, my old buddy Brian Morrissey. Brian, how you doing?

Brian Morrissey (60s):
Mike, this is a great honor. Thank you for inviting me on today.

Mike Shields (1m 4s):
I’m intimidated. You’re a podcast pro. You’re a former boss, respected colleague. Brian how are you? How do we — who are you? How do we describe you? You’re just a retired digital nomad.

Brian Morrissey (1m 16s):
I’m not retired. I’m in exile. I’m taking a break. No, I’m, right now, I was the President and Editor-in-Chief of Digiday for almost a decade. Going back to when you and I worked there, many years ago until you broke up with me at Starbucks. We can talk about that later.

Mike Shields (1m 37s): Yeah.

Brian Morrissey (1m 38s): And I left in —

Mike Shields (1m 39s):
That brings up a lot of emotions, so we gotta be careful.

Brian Morrissey (1m 41s):
Yeah, I know, mixed I’m sure. I left in October and now I’m sort of figuring out what to do next. And in the meantime, I am having a newsletter.

Mike Shields (1m 54s): You have a Substack?

Brian Morrissey (1m 54s):
I’m writing in a Substack like everyone, but…

Mike Shields (1m 56s):
They’re legally required for external…

Brian Morrissey (1m 58s):
I know. I know. It’s all very clichéd. And I’m going to be launching a podcast. I was the host of the Digiday podcasts for, I don’t know, five years. So I’m gonna start a new podcast in the new year probably under The Rebooting brand. Is it a brand? Sure.

Mike Shields (2m 14s):
It’s absolutely a brand. No, I’m excited you’re here. Brian and I were colleagues. I was at Mediaweek. He was Adweek for a bunch of years. And we’re together at Digiday. We’ve known each other forever. He’s one of the smartest guy in media, and we’re excited to have you. So, I want to talk about a million different things. But what — are you worried like if our chemistry is so incredible that like this is just going to take off? Like I’m a little bit concerned about that.

Brian Morrissey (2m 40s):
I am, I am. It’s worrying for all of us.

Mike Shields (2m 43s):
Like this could be like Mike in the Mad Dog or something we have in 20 years.

Brian Morrissey (2m 46s):
This is like a rewind. We need to get Jack in, because this is like a rewind of going back to the little teeny weird room at WeWork. We were really just starting at Digiday and just trying to figure stuff out. Those were fun times.

.  .  .


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Meet our host, Mike Shields

Mike Shields is the founder of Shields Strategic Consulting. Shields covered the ad business for over 15 years at top publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Adweek and Digiday.

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