From the pulpit

The Editor’s introduction

Issue 47 | June 2018

Seismic times in advertising.

Vincent Bolloré, for whom Havas was a plaything in his business empire, faces charges of corruption in France.

Sir Martin Sorrell is removed from WPP, the company he founded.

Cambridge Analytica goes into liquidation after it turns out they were abusing the data of some 50 million Facebook users.

Advertising used to be a cottage industry.

Clients were protective of their agencies. Loyal, even.

Then it all changed.

Agency founders like Sir Frank Lowe, Sir John Hegarty and Martin Boase (why no knighthood?) came into advertising to make ads, from which they made money.

They were admen first, businessmen second.

Now we are overrun with businessmen, who, frankly, don't give a toss about the ads themselves.

Accenture is on a buying spree, hoovering up agencies on its way to achieving its ambition to be the global Number One interactive/experience network.

Deloitte, McKinseys, PricewaterhouseCooper are all piling in.

God help us.

Ever heard of Anatoly Roytman?

He's Accenture's European panjandrum. He's building a 'cagency'. A consultancy/agency hybrid.

God help us.

For these accountants, advertising is "personalised, real time and hyper-targeted."

In other words, it is driven by technology.

Not by ideas.

Now here's the paradox.

800 million people have already installed ad-blockers.

It is the largest single protest movement the planet has ever seen.

People have come to hate advertising. And now the people who are running advertising are doing everything possible to make advertising even more hateful.

Consider Programmatic.

It ought to be an opportunity to engage consumers.

Instead, it's pissing them off as they get pursued around the internet and beyond.

That's because media agencies, trying to behave like consultancies in order to survive, are driving the agenda.

The last time I asked at a conference of media folk, over 60% had installed ad blockers.

They hate what they do as much as their target audiences hate them for doing it.

It is my belief that ideas have never been so important.

If in all the white noise of adspam you can hear the cool, calm and considerate voice of a brand, you may listen to it.

If it charms you or helps you, then you may even choose to buy it, use it, invest in it.

People don't hate advertising. They hate BAD advertising.

The 'cagencies' may see economies of scale in using bots to create and deliver their sort of crapvertising but, in this context, AI is already self-defeating.

People will engage with advertising if it's GOOD. In other words, if it's useful, usable and/or delightful.

If it has an idea.

Over the next 104 pages, you will come across over 60 ideas.

Each provides proof our industry has not been completely ravaged by accountants.


Pip pip


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