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Retail Media Vets Launch Consultancy to Ease Commerce Network Growing Pains

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A group of industry vets with experience developing, building, supporting and analyzing retail media networks (RMNs) as far back as 2004, announced a new venture: Colosseum Strategy.

Commerce media has swept through the Cannes Lions Festival this year, with major retailers taking up space on the beaches and in the harbor while agencies and tech platforms announce new retail media-focused tools and partnerships daily.

Keith Bryan, the consultancy’s CEO and founder, spent 20 years at Best Buy developing the retailer’s media business and shepherding it through its first decade-and-a-half of business.

Co-founder Yara Daher was building RMNs at HookLogic—later acquired by Criteo—on behalf of majors like Walmart and Target back in 2014.

Andrew Lipsman, Colosseum’s founding adviser and strategist, has become one of the leading industry analysts on retail media, and the consultancy’s founding advisor and data architect Daniel Knapp is chief economist at IAB Europe.

ADWEEK caught up with Bryan and Lipsman during Cannes to hear how the new firm aims to fill a knowledge gap in commerce media landscape as the industry grows. While they wouldn’t share specific clients, Bryan said that they span a diverse array of adtech, and that the company is currently in talks with potential clients on both the supply and demand side, including non-retail.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What’s the Colosseum Strategy backstory?

Bryan: I joined Best Buy in 2004. Sitting in meetings with merchants and big vendors like Intel, and Microsoft, the conversations were half about media. After spending a few years as merchant director to understand how to start an ad network inside Best Buy, I developed a business plan, arguing that we were ‘a media company in denial’ and we needed a plan to come out of denial. Starting in about 2010 and carrying on until I left the company, I was leading both Best Buy media on the demand side, our investment teams, and building what became Best Buy Ads.

A few years ago, I started to realize that because Best Buy had gotten such an early start, we were maybe the first big retailer to build, from the start, a lot of internal integration. We were solving new problems sooner.

Lipsman: The forces aligned. Keith had this vision at the end of last year and I had separately made the decision already to go independent at that point, and this was a chance to do something bigger.

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