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Watch Machine Zone's Gabe Leydon Freak Out a Room Full of Media People (Video)

Uh oh.

Asa Mathat for Vox Media
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Do you hate TV ads? Gabe Leydon does, too.

Except, unlike you, Gabe Leydon buys lots of TV ads: He runs Machine Zone, the game company behind all of those Mobile Strike ads with Arnold Schwarzenegger you’ve been seeing for the past few months. And the Kate Upton Game of War ads you saw last year, too.

Leydon buys those ads because he says he has to buy those ads. But he thinks they are terribly inefficient, as is almost all brand advertising: The stuff that Google, Facebook and everyone else on the Web would very much like to move online.

That’s a terrible idea, Leydon told the crowd at Code/Media last week, because almost all brand advertising is nothing more than a slush fund that feeds lazy advertisers, publishers and networks, who want to avoid accountability.

Real advertising, he argues, is the kind he buys for his games on mobile platforms like Facebook, which provide instant, precise accountability for the dollars he spends.

When Leydon laid this out for the Code/Media attendees, he freaked out most of the room — presumably because he was telling most of the room that they needed to get new jobs, stat.

It’s also possible that Leydon’s argument isn’t as strong as he thinks it is, since many advertisers want to sell things that can’t be purchased via your phone the way mobile games are. And that figuring out how to sell that stuff is always going to involve science and art, as MediaLink COO Wenda Harris Millard argued at the end of Leydon’s session.

Anyway. See for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. Here’s the full video:

And the audio:

(For more audio from Code/Media 2016 and all our other events, subscribe to Re/code Replay on iTunes.)

What’s that? You want even more Code/Media content? Done: Here’s a YouTube playlist of more video from Code/Media 2016.

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