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Advertising 'out of touch' with reality

Oct 28 2010 11:29
Tony Koenderman
Johannesburg - Most advertising and communication currently out there has little or nothing to do with the very real challenges facing clients.

Tough words from M&CSaatchi Abel's Mike Abel at Tony Koenderman’s Brainstorm Conference.

“Most of SA’s biggest spenders are spending mega money trying to entertain consumers through advertising that has no meaningful consumer benefit, differentiated offer or reason to purchase,” he says.

But – if only they would remember it – “good communications has the ability to transform a company’s prospects".

“So it seems to make no difference to clients if the work doesn't succeed, as they expect no return on investment. The consumer landscape has changed dramatically and yet the marketing and advertising landscape steadfastly refuses to follow suit. Simply put, we lag  considerably," he said.

“We're in a world of time-starved media snackers dependent on info bytes, tweets, and their reading limited to headlines; a world where convenience rules and brands need to work that much quicker and that much harder; a world where consumer-generated content is becoming king. Vacuous escapism dominates. Word of mouse holds sway.”

Abel identifies five  articles of faith about the modern consumer: people seek value, they trust you more if they like you, they like consistency, they want self-belief and conviction from us, and they need to be loved, understood and respected.

“Agencies today are largely thinking in executional  ideas  rather than brand ideas. They are still largely paid for execution or time spent and not the solution (or results).

“Social media, digital, PR, activation, ideas and channels should be at the centre of today’s solutions but are still being relegated to the old media slot at the end of the presentation. This is mainly handled by other ‘suppliers’.”

Abel has some solutions, however:
  • Return to the ideas business;
  • Be channel-neutral in every sense;
  • Understand the pulleys and levers to client success;
  • Be results-orientated;
  • Own the opportunity not the overhead;
  • Embrace the new world as consumers already have;
  • Be involved right up front and at the right level;
  • Be paid for output as well as input; and
  • Hire the best people and collaborate with the best people.

Abel emigrated to Australia three years ago, rose to CEO of M&CSaatchi there, then returned to start up M&CSaatchi Abel in South Africa.

He brought back with him an awareness of how that market is moving ahead. What particularly impressed him was that agency bosses work directly with client CEOs and chief marketing officers.

Typically, they appoint one agency which collaborates with specialist suppliers across all disciplines.

- Fin24



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