Author: Simon Leslie, Joint CEO

Bob Hoffman is a man worth listening to. Especially when he’s talking about advertising.

Bob is an adland icon. The founder of the Hoffman/Lewis agency in California, he has created campaigns for McDonald’s, Shell, PepsiCo, Bank of America, you name it... 

The century-old Greater San Francisco Ad Club made him their “Ad Person of the Year” in 2012.

And now Bob Hoffman is the man exposing the vast fraud of digital advertising. He has spoken out about a world where a single “bot” computer programme can generate a billion fraudulent ad impressions a day, without that ad ever having been viewed by human eyeballs.

This great swindle is on track to become the second largest source of criminal activity in the world by 2025, second only to drug trafficking, Hoffman suggested recently.  

That’s a calculation based on fraud accounting for 10 per cent of the online advertising system. But the World Federation of Advertisers believes the amount of fraud could easily be 30 per cent. Even if it were only 5 per cent, that would be the equivalent of US$ 7.5 billion a year.

This is before organised crime gets involved in a racket that is only set to grow. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has said that digital ad fraud has the highest potential return and the lowest risk of any form of online crime.

And what does this mean for the advertisers? It should tell them that the accountability they thought they were getting with digital ad spending is a great hoax.

Instead of focusing on eyeballs, clients should be thinking about bums on seats.

And there’s no seat like an airline seat for delivering an audience that actually engages with content. In that first 20 minutes of a flight, airline passengers set aside their digital devices and settle down with their inflight magazine. Relaxed, undistracted and in an upbeat frame of mind, 74 per cent will read the magazine and an unrivalled 41 per cent have gone on to make a purchase from an ad.

Target your marketing campaigns with inflight advertising. This is the engagement of real people, not bots.


For more information, contact

Steve Rowbotham

+44 20 7625 0700

Sales Director