Video hangout: Adam Ferrier on demise of church and state, VR and global expansion

Consumers should be worried about the growing trend of new digital operators like Buzzfeed and Maker Studios to end the separation between editorial and sales according to Adam Ferrier.

In a video chat with Mumbrella in New York, Ferrier, the global strategy officer at Cummins & Partners also said the agency was eyeing Europe in the next phase of its global expansion.

Asked about the rise of new digital publishers pushing branded video content Ferrier said they were threatening the editorial integrity of publishers, known as church and state in the industry.

“(Buzzfeed and co’s) business model relies on the death of church and state because they are so good at the social web and disseminating content,” said Ferrier. “It shows that the death of church and state has already arrived but still lives on with other media as well.”

Asked if he was worried about this demise the consumer psychologist said: “I have massive concerns about where it is going.

“We used to do experiments on kids and say can you identify a McDonald’s to test if it was advertising. Today the question ‘is this advertising or not?’ is completely redundant. It’s all advertising and I don’t know what the repercussions will be.

“I don’t think the mainstream masses care but the point is someone should care.”

Ferrier was also asked about the New York Times’s push into premium video and whether its experiments with virtual reality would be likely to generate significant amounts of content or revenue.

“There is no reason someone like the New York Times can’t be experimenting with VR,” he said. “It’s just that they are experimenting with new media.

“Any kind of way of engaging consumers beyond the printed word is fantastic. Good on them.”

The Cummins & Partners strategy boss also spoke about the global expansion of the agency, which in recent times has opened offices in New York and Canada, signalling Europe was the most likely next stop for a new office.

“New York is going really well… we just launched our Canadian office last week and have about 15 people there and its buzzing away,” said Ferrier.

“I think somewhere in Europe is looking more attractive but we will keep on expanding we have a nice proposition that people seem to be responding to.

“It is fun being part of an independent global agency.”

For a timeline of the questions: 

Mumbrella will be hosting a series of video chats with industry figures centred on the Newfronts.

Nic Christensen in New York


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