Advertisers today are grappling with some important issues. It’s a fact that they are exploring technology both to innovate and engage their target audience in an entertaining and effective way.
The topic of discussion at the first session on Day 2 of the 38th FIPP World Magazine Congress was devoted to ‘What advertisers want from magazine media’. Jim James, Director, Haymarket Media Group, UK, moderated the discussion and said that the session comparatively would be ‘the most important’.
Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Loins, UK began by stating that if one thought of Cannes, one should think of creativity. He described Cannes as “a festival of creativity, where the largest gathering of advertising agencies, media owners takes place”. He mentioned the fact that apart from the agencies and media owners, marketers also came in large numbers. The latter are interested in exploring the factors that excite and engage consumers. He mentioned that the various response that they got from the marketers ranged from “It was like a secret” and “To see you celebrate excellence is special” to “We want to be inspired, educated and take back what we learn”. One particular reply was: “Now I know the work I’ve been approving is mediocre!” while another said, “Creativity drives effectiveness”. Thomas made an interesting observation regarding the impact of a brand’s creativity on its share price. He pointed out that Pepsi’s share price was the highest when it was voted ‘Advertiser of the Year’ in 2009. Procter & Gamble enjoyed the same in 2008 and Honda in 2007. All winners with true creative output enjoyed high share prices.
He further elaborated, “Creativity is a business driver, driving sales, share prices, quality and change. Hence, clients are interested in creative output.” He then posed a question as to what media owners were doing about it. He recalled how at Cannes they had discussed the changes that had come about in media. According to him, clients looked beyond their world and demanding business solutions. He cited the example of a stamped pillow brand in Australia. The brand effectively used the message, timing and medium to attract consumers for stamped pillows. The sales increased by 345 per cent as against the expected increase of 20 per cent.
The next speaker, Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, GroupM, South Asia, professed, “It has to be grabbed.” He noted, “We see a reasonably stagnant growth as a whole. This should be a worry.” He, however, could still see some opportunities which he thought were important. He observed that magazines were bleary about numbers and “this diffidence is working against them”. He recommended that they should take numbers, put a value to them, and monetise. Sakhuja added that magazines could grow revenue effectively. “In India, the reach story in magazine and print is not as bad as it’s made out to be,” he said and recommended “trade on audiences across formats”.
He further emphasized, “Content is at the heart of what we do; a complete engagement is what you should offer” and cited the example of the Loreal-Cosmo feature that had showed results. He pointed out, “This not advertising” and stated “The point where editorial ends, the earned media starts.” He observed that the database was not exploited by magazines and that a CRM based approach needed to be taken to the next level. His parting shot was: “Trade on audiences across audiences and leverage content”.
Thomas Ernberg, MD, Volvo Auto India reiterated the thought that “creativity is the most important thing”. He went on to say, “What we want from magazines is the detailed description of the demographics. We would like to know the psychographics, the motivation, and the habits of the consumers.” He was clear that a ‘more psychological analysis’ was important.
The moderator Jim James threw open another question – “Are advertisers ready to take on the tablet technology?” Ernberg felt, “It is important to look at age groups, and younger age groups are interested in this technology”. Philip Thomas said, “If you don’t look at interactivity and change in user experience, you are losing the trip.” He added, “I know clients are looking at different options and to dismiss the tablet will be premature!”