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GoaFest 2008: Get ready for ‘Communitainment’, says Kevin Swanepoel

05-April-2008
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GoaFest 2008: Get ready for ‘Communitainment’, says Kevin Swanepoel

The first day of GoaFest 2008 saw some fun, frolic along with some insightful thoughts from well-known names from the world of international advertising. One speaker that enthralled who gathering was Kevin Swanepoel, President, One Club, who took the audience through one of the best pieces of work produced for the Internet in both viral and banner advertising.

Swanepoel began his presentation by explaining the power of ‘User Generated Content’ (UGC). Stating that the ad world was going through a revolution, Swanepoel said, “Today, user control is turning the world upside down. Users are taking control over content – they have become the producers and the consumers today, and pretty much controlling the content in the manner they want.”

Explaining the factors that were driving the UGC trend, he said, “Today, what we are going through is what I call ‘Communitainment’, where users want to be actively involved in the process of communication, and also be entertained simultaneously. Growth of UGC websites and the Internet becoming the mainstream channel for advertising are important factors determining the growth of consumer’s active participation in the creation of content. Media is fragmenting at a rapid pace, and the usage of traditional media is on a decline. With this, there is no doubt that the user is king. As advertisers we need to understand this, embrace the digital technology to engage the consumers with the latest technologies.”

Referring to a survey on the consumption pattern of media among users, Swanepoel indicated that ‘multi-tasking’, was a very strong behavioural pattern among consumers. “Almost 17 per cent of people said that they consumed TV and Internet at the same time, and this number would only increase with content getting more and more fragmented.” Citing trends in the past, he said that in the early days of advertising, in the 1960s, it was very easy for advertisers to reach the whole country given the fact that there were hardly any media options available. In 1996, he explained, the numbers of media options started increasing, and in 2006 there were more than 30 media options.

“New Media as an option is burgeoning. Agencies require good copy writers, good art directors/ creative professionals to make an impact with the digital options,” he explained. He urged agency members in taking initiatives to learn the new media, take interest in creating innovative platforms for users to respond to communication messages that a brand delivers. “If you aren’t embracing the digital space in the manner it should be, you wouldn’t be able to deliver compelling and effective content,” he maintained.

Swanepoel showcased several examples of effective work on the Internet, out of which many of them, as he explained, popped up in traditional media once they had gained popularity over New Media. The Burger King campaign, Dove Evolution, Trojan Condoms were some of the viral marketing campaigns that he showcased as the ones that had generated a lot of user response. Coca-Cola, Pilao Coffee and Cancer Foundation were some of the banner ads he displayed in his presentation.

Concluding his presentation, Swanepoel informed about the One Club’s foray into movie making with ‘The Alchemists’, which is based on five people who changed the business of advertising.

One Club is a non-profit oganisation, which conducts the One Show Awards. He has over 23 years of experience in traditional advertising, and has also authored several books on advertising.

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