Arguably one of the best organised conferences of late, the Advertising Agencies Association of India’s ‘The Future of Advertising’ offered much food for thought to the audience on the final day. Between the likes of Lowe’s Tony Wright, BBDO’s David Guerrero, INMA’s Earl J Wilkinson and our own O&M’s Piyush Pandey and thought leader on marketing strategy and consumer related issues, Rama Bijapurkar, talks of future were not limited to advertising alone.
The keynote address was delivered by Tony Wright, CEO, Lowe Worldwide. Speaking on ‘Reach without Compromise – The New Global Imperative’, Wright began with a ‘tale’ for the audience, “The tale is of an industry oblivious to globalisation that we have taken for granted.”
Wright, (an unusual example of an account planner given the responsibility of a Network CEO) spent some time with the audience bringing out factors of the advertising industry of the past, where agencies believed that ideas for the world could be generated from one centre, without considering the customer differences in view.
Terming this as an arrogant corporate colonial tactic, he said, “We have come a long way, but even today advertising agencies are not nearly offering enough to clients – globally and regionally. The demand is of international ideas with individual expressions. The client cannot be asked to make a choice between global reach and local relevance. Identifying this problem, we have created the lighthouse model, which addresses this demand.”
He said that the need was to offer a brilliant idea, which had the brand’s essence, which encompassed both imagination and integration, and at the end of it all had global reach with local expression. For him, the lighthouse model, where centres of excellence in various markets were identified and then one idea was adapted to different markets was one of the solutions for today’s challenges.
To vindicate his point, he gave examples like Unilever’s ‘Dirt is Good’, the idea of which was created in Brazil and was seen in India as ‘Daag Acche Hain’. He explained the relevance that the ads had to the respective markets where they were executed.
Wright concluded on the note that both clients and consumers should be given what they want and choices cannot be forced on anyone.
The next special speaker of the day was Creative Head, Asia, Chairman and CCO, BBDO Phillipines, David Guerrero who spoke on dealing with ‘Shorter Attention Spans’. For Guerrero, the need for an ad to be entertaining and communicating the brand message at the same time was vital. He saw merit and bringing forth short and impactful messages.
Giving various examples, where tangible results are seen post the marketing campaigns, he spoke of varied tactics like ‘Dory’ and ‘Humour’, which when handled well an be equalising and empowering.
In handling such techniques however, there are a few factors to be kept in mind. Guerrero enumerated, “You have to respect customer’s intelligence. The humour has to spring from truth and it should help make advertising a welcome intrusion.”
“A customer already has formed an opinion on the role that ads play for them and the ad should be such they seek out for,” added Guerrero. One change that has sees is that, ads getting more and more target specific. “Mass media and television can be forced mediums and that can change,” said Guerrero.
Another international speaker who had much to offer was Earl Wilkinson, Executive Director of INMA. Wilkinson spoke of the challenges that the newspaper industry was facing around the globe. “It is these threats that are making them do various kinds of experiments to survive,” said Wilkinson.
He threw light on examples where newspapers have been innovative in their content, in their presentation and even in their advertising. Wilkinson cited emerging trends like broadsheets turning compacts. ‘Lite’ versions and free papers coming in to keep the medium growing.