CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/1999 REVIEW - The year that adland took digital media seriously. Key industry figures talk to Campaign about what they felt were 1999’s hot issues
By RICHARD COOK, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 17 December 1999 12:00AM
All the talk has turned to action this year as new media has made a tangible impact across the entire advertising industry. And it’s not just the net-heads who are tangled up in the worldwide web - industry figures across the board are wrestling with the relevance of the wired world.
All the talk has turned to action this year as new media has made a
tangible impact across the entire advertising industry. And it’s not
just the net-heads who are tangled up in the worldwide web - industry
figures across the board are wrestling with the relevance of the wired
Our panel has interpreted new media’s coming of age as a positive
Brands are more important than ever and advertising budgets are
expanding to accommodate the influx of new companies, all vying to
become household names.
Television’s fight to remain a truly mass medium also proved to be an
abiding memory of the year.
Traditional advertising seems to have been temporarily eclipsed while
the media map preoccupies many minds.
Even Andy McLeod, the only creative director that we consulted, looked
beyond advertising to the world of pop videos to find his highlight of
PETER MEAD, honorary chairman of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and vice-
chairman of Omnicom.
The most significant thing about this year for me was how it began with
lots of earnest young men running internet companies telling us that the
existing ways of doing things were old hat.
Yet it has ended with media inflation fuelled by the sheer numbers of
those companies running conventional advertising. Three of them will
even be running TV ads during the SuperBowl.
This is enormously important because, despite the arrival of all this
marvellous technology which was going to make us redundant, it hasn’t
proved to be the case. Quite the reverse.
People can’t touch and feel these companies. Only through advertising
can they do that. Far from making brands less important, this year’s
internet explosion proves that they are more important than ever
ROB FURNESS, head of marketing services at Orange.
New media has had a great impact on the advertising industry but not in
the way that we anticipated.
About a year to 18 months ago, we were all concerned about how we would
divert our advertising budget into new media with things like websites
and banner ads.
But what is ironic is that new media has entered our world - the world
of conventional media - rather than the other way around. Virtually
every ad you see in newspapers, magazines and on TV is for a dotcom
company. So although we have more outlets for advertising messages, we
have increasing competition for space on TV and therefore greater
pressure on price - an important and unexpected outcome.
In the future, the challenge to stand out will become even greater and
it is then that we will see more experimentation and increased
convergence within new-media advertising.
ANDY MCLEOD, joint creative director at Fallon McElligott.
Hammer & Tongs’s promo for Blur’s Coffee and TV - not an ad, but a
highlight nevertheless. It’s only a few minutes long but it’s long
enough to draw you into the storyline and make you empathise with the
characters. Even though they’re milk cartons.
There are gasps of shock when the girl carton gets squashed. And not a
dry eye in the house when they meet up in heaven at the end.
It’s just a sweet idea for a great track, executed with exactly the
right level of humour. And you can bet your Christmas bonus that the
Hammer & Tongs fax machine is whirring away with scripts coming in
featuring walking FMCGs of every description.
SHOLTO DOUGLAS-HOME, director of marketing communications for the
I think the most significant issue of the year has been the changes
within ITV in terms of programming scheduling and management. The
interest that’s been shown in them reinforces just how important mass TV
remains as well as the fact that we still have the best quality
broadcast brands in the world.
You only have to recall how much debate has gone on this year over the
moving of News at Ten to understand how much this means to people. With
so much other TV news programming on the BBC and Sky, it’s extraordinary
that this should have provoked so much controversy.
The year has also shown that ITV has the people to deliver quality
While there are still some weak spots in the slot vacated by News at
Ten, ITV’s Nightly News is proving to be excellent.
DAVID MAGLIANO, marketing director of GO.
I think there were two crucial events affecting the advertising industry
Firstly, the success of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? shows that
commercial TV still has the ability to create a ’water cooler moment’
(when people gather around to talk about it the next day at work). It’s
important for commercial TV that, despite the onslaught of media
fragmentation, it can still command huge audiences.
But probably of more significance in the future will be Greg Dyke, with
his commercial background, taking over at the BBC. He is a threat to
commercial TV, radio and online with his aggressive approach to making
the BBC an attractive, well-run broadcaster. He is also likely to be
more open to using the assets of the BBC for commercial gains.
JASON GOODMAN, joint managing director of BMP Interaction.
1999 will be remembered as the year when digital media went mainstream
and quality played second fiddle to the sheer quantity of start-ups.
It was also the year clients stopped asking if online advertising was
really necessary, and started making it a priority. And it heralded the
first time that cabbies stopped staring into the distance with a glazed
look after asking me my profession, and started telling me about the
great deal they recently got on Lastminute.com.
Looking back in years to come, no-one will remember who did a great
banner campaign in 1999. The outstanding memory will be the sheer
explosion of online communications.
No exceptional work shines from the year purely because no-one has had
the time to do anything really clever. The whole industry has gone to
market so fast, and it has been one exhilarating ride.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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