Vice Chief Digital Officer Drops Opinions and F-Bombs

CIQ Headlines

Mike Germano, Chief Digital Officer at Vice, kept the post-lunch audience at the Ops New York conference ( awake with honest, edgy opinions and lots of f-bombs.

On marketing to youth

“The only way to circumvent the bullshit detector is to not bullshit them.”

On the growth of online video

“I can’t tell you names of all the TV people who said, ‘TV quality video will never work online.’ I actually don’t need to tell you who they are because they’re f–ing fired because they were f–ing wrong.”

On millennials and news consumption

“People said, ‘Young people aren’t interested in news. They just love those f–ing cats.’


But they didn’t like the way news was. I don’t want CNN to suck. I want them to be great. But they dedicated 137 million hours to the Malaysian plane. Maybe we should take the senate and put it in the ocean. Then they’d cover that.”


More on marketing to youth

“We have to respect our audience while advertising to them. No one likes to be advertised to.”

On ad-blockers

“Our audience tends to have ad blockers. I love my audience but f–you ad blockers. 20% of my revenue is gone. I need that revenue to make content so you come to the site. If I don’t make that content you don’t come to the site.”


On knock-off audience

“There are all these tags so they can say someone went to our site two weeks ago and sell against that audience. Advertisers ask, ‘How do we buy them but not pay that price?’”

On overnight success

“We’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

On native ads

“I hear native ads I get very nervous. I see a lot of reputable news companies with native ads. It looks like a trick.


We’re honest. We say to our audience, ‘This is the brand we’re working with. You should f–ing thank them. And we’re going to tell a terrific story.’

It’s like Mutual of Omaha presents the Wild Kingdom. That shit’s old school. It’s coming back around.”


On branded content

“At VICE we tell stories. Sometimes brands have great stories.”