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Asia's ad quality not keeping up with economic growth

Publication Date : 19-09-2012


GroupM Global president Dominic Proctor delivered a sobering address at the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity, saying that Asia is still a follower rather than a global leader in advertising creativity.

According to Proctor, the quality of creative output from the Asian marketing, creative and media business has not grown in tandem with the economic growth here over the last 15 years.

“Overall, business here in Asia-Pacific is still a follower rather than a leader; and it could be a leader,” he said on the final day of the three-day creative advertising and communications festival organised by Lions Festival s and Haymarket yesterday.

Proctor, who is Spikes Asia Awards 2012 jury president for media, said that based on the whole body of work entered into the show this year, including entries in categories other than media, Asia still had to make “a lot of progress”.

While the good work was “very good and sometimes brilliant,” he said there were not enough of them and they came from “far too few places” in the region.

“If Australia wasn't part of the region and India as well for the media awards it would be rather sad,” said Proctor, who founded GroupM's first media agency, Mindshare, in Asia in 1997.

He said the world expected Asia to lead from here rather than follow, but it was not happening.

“In the 15 years that I've been involved in the region, I've seen the market double and double again. This gives us (in Asia) the platform and the opportunity to be global leaders and not to be just followers,” he said.

Proctor said advertising agencies, advertisers and media owners should ask themselves whether they were keeping pace with technology.

He said questions that clients should ask themselves were:

- Is your agency developing adaptive marketing capability - including data repositories and decision-making engines - so media planners and buyers can analyse data in real time to optimise expenditures?

- Is your agency investing enough in innovation and creativity?

- Are your agencies integrated and collaborative enough?

- Do we have the talent in our businesses to take advantage of all the opportunities?

“The answer (to the last question) overwhelmingly is no,” Proctor said.

He warned Asia not make the same mistake that Europe and America did in the past, which was not investing enough in talent.

At another session, DraftFCB global retail and promotions officer Tina Manikas highlighted ways to create promotion and activation that could change consumer behaviours.

Manikas, also Spikes Asia 2012 president for the direct, promotion and activation jury, said marketers should make the benefits immediate and the first step in the consumer's journey simple.

On the latter, she said: “If you tell consumers, Buy eight and you get the two for free,' that is not as effective as saying I'll give you the two for free first and then you fill out the card to buy eight.' It's all about messaging and what matters to people and how they matter to you.”

Manikas also noted other ways, including:

- Making a threat: Australia-based Tontine put an expiry date on its pillows to avoid problems with bed bugs;

- Making it vivid: US carrot farmers boosting baby carrot sales by selling them in loud, junk food packaging;

- Leveraging social proof: Brazilian retailer C&A using clothes hangers embedded with screens which showed how many “likes” the respective items received on Facebook in real time; and

- Making it scarce: An Argentinian publisher encouraged reading of physical books by printing an anthology of new authors using special ink which disappeared two months after opening.

At another session, BBDO Asia, Middle East and Africa chairman and CEO Chris Thomas noted the link between creativity and effectiveness.

He said that cross-tabulating the Gunn Report with IPA Effectiveness Awards' best archive of creatively awarded work worldwide, there was “clear empirical evidence” that the creatively-awarded work was 11 times more efficient in building market share than the non-awarded work.

Thomas said the most powerful strategy with the biggest impact on ad clients' profitability was setting a fame-based objective for the campaign. “That is not just brand awareness. We need to make the brand famous own a space in people's minds, clearly define what that space is, and get people talking about it.

He also cited that Millward Brown data showed emotionally-based work was more likely to drive events.

TV continued to be an important medium for marketers, he said. “A few years ago, if you stood up in conferences and said TV advertising is really important, you would seem old-fashioned. TV advertising spend around the world is growing. Equally true is the importance of interplay between the online and offline worlds.”


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