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GoaFest 2008: Everything, even the toilet, is media now, says Jon Wilkins

05-April-2008
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GoaFest 2008: Everything, even the toilet, is media now, says Jon Wilkins

According to Jon Wilkins, Co-Founder, Naked Communications, the communications industry was undergoing an evolution, and the monkey media man, in simple words the believers of traditional media communicating the advertiser’s message effectively, would soon be extinct. He was addressing the delegates on the first day of GoaFest 2008. The growth in media channels, and the resulting media fragmentation would soon make mainline advertising a thing of the past. The objective should be to find new and innovative mediums that are lead disciplines, and not follower disciplines.

He reiterated that the digital wave, along with new lines of thinking, would erode the power of advertising. Quoting an English idiom, ‘Do what you are doing, but don’t bury your head in the sand’, Wilkins said that communication today was going to be about details and building relationships”. He took the audience through various examples to depict the use of innovative solutions that kept the audience at the centre. According to him, until that was in place, one could not win the advertisers’ trust.

Citing the example of noodle brand Vindaloo, Wilkins said that the client was bold enough to say that if you consumed this brand, you have to use the toilet. “We did use the twisted English sense of humour to communicate this message, and this really was a bold client, but in a sense we were really able to open new mediums of communication with this. We used public toilets, with toilet panic zones, and it has been four years, but this is still one of the most memorable campaigns.”

Wilkins also spoke about the importance of big but simple ideas that could be taken on viral mediums, and how agencies could give clients the right direction for the brand message if they embraced all forms of emerging media, and knew how to break away from tradition. He said, “This was said at the Advertising Conclave on April 3, 2008, as well, but the point is do people really understand the meaning of taking a brand 360 degrees, and what this entails?”

For Wilkins, the need was to take communication 4D already. The fourth dimension for him was where the audience was engaged with the product, and that could be done by appropriate content communication, on-ground activation, events and other forms of communication. “More importantly, it means a whole new approach – re-training, a new skill set. There are examples today when media agencies tell their employees, ‘Alright, you have been a media buyer, and now you are a communications planner’. The professionals don’t have a clue what that means, but they get the new business cards anyways. If you don’t know something, that is fine, but a little bit knowledge can be very dangerous.”

Wilkins urged the audience to think on new media lines, in all plans, and consider that as a lead medium. He ended his address with, “Somebody needs to take the clients’ marketing problems more seriously. If we understand that, we are in the right direction already as we have everything else that is required to be the in right place.”

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