Which challenges and trends will define the first five years of the
new millennium? Is it possible that we’ll all be working from our
kitchen tables and taking part in business meetings via a video
conference link? When it comes to the advertising on our screens, will
there be two dominant genres consisting of the global missive in
competition with quirky, locally relevant spots?
There were no surprises in what the agency chiefs Campaign spoke to
thought would be the most influential factor in advertising over the
next few years - the growth of e-commerce worldwide.
Kotaro Sugiyama, senior creative director of Dentsu, believes that the
culture spawned by the internet will empower consumers so that they
become major communication players. Pat Fallon, co-founder of Fallon
McElligott, believes that 2000 will see the continued growth of
e-commerce, fuelled as much by traditional retailers and businesses as
’Traditional clients will want to better integrate on- and offline
efforts. They will turn to agencies for help and often find it lacking.
So they will turn to interactive agencies - which, in turn, will seek
out more revenue from these clients,’ Fallon says.
’The war between old and new economy brand partners will begin.
Accountability will be a linchpin issue with the e-enabled customer
database being the focal point. The media world will be rocked by
mergers of the old and new economies, driven by the convergence of
entertainment, commerce and communication.’
For Martin Sorrell, group chief executive of WPP, new technology or
channels of distribution will also be of a paramount importance because
of the way they ’violently disintermediate established businesses’ and
’at lower margins and lower profit models’. Two further trends targeted
by Sorrell are ’overcapacity in branding’ and internal communications as
companies go through ’significant and strategic change’.
Moving away from the consequences of technology is the concern of John
Perriss, chairman and chief executive of Zenith Worldwide. ’Advertising
accounted for 1.02 per cent of GDP in 1999 and in good times, like now,
advertising percentage of GDP tends to rise. If the economy falters, the
fallback for the industry amounts to several billion dollars. We predict
that it will rise to 1.04 per cent in 2000.’
The prognosis for creativity is uncertain. Michael Conrad, vice-chairman
and chief creative officer of the Leo Group, sees that in the short
term, ’advertising will continue to be defined and influenced by the
existence of indistinct and mediocre work. There are too many
commercials of inferior quality that pollute the human mind.’
In the US, Alan Causey, managing director of social analysis forecasts
at Lowe Lintas & Partners New York, predicts that the most important
influence will be the continued emergence of dotcom companies into mass
advertising and the evolvement of their advertising.
Creatives also face major upheaval, according to Perriss, as agencies
seek to become more cost effective. ’They will freelance out more
creative work. As there are far better margins in marketing services and
media agencies that have quoted margins of 20 per cent plus. Creative
departments that have a car brief, for example, will commission a few
teams that have solid car experience to develop the idea.’
Fallon prophesises that ’there will be many casualties’ in the name of
Sorrell believes that agencies’ structures will change to reflect
clients’ significant structural reorganisation. ’Although clients want
strong creative talent they also need the resources of global networks.
Big agencies will have to behave like small ones, demonstrating creative
ingenuity and flexibility. Similarly, small ones will have to behave
like big ones, demonstrating depth of resource, coverage and
Sorrell continues: ’If you are going to develop a business of global
significance, domination of the American market is critical. In
advertising and marketing services, for example, approximately 45 per
cent of the expenditure in this dollars 1 trillion industry originates
in the US. The answer is the development of global businesses rooted in
the most vibrant market in the world - the US.’
Campaigns will become neither more global in their focus nor locally
relevant, but both. Sugiyama believes that regionality will remain core,
although the globalisation of regional cultures will, undoubtedly, be
reflected in some campaigns.
Fallon argues that both will happen. ’With the internet enabling more
businesses to compete on a global stage, and with the trade barriers
coming down, clients will, increasingly, look for global campaigns as a
means to manage their brands more effectively.’
But there is a counterforce to globalisation. An increased pride in
national, regional, cultural or tribal identity will emerge. This will
demand that advertising be adapted on a case-by-case basis.
The recent move by Coca-Cola from global to local advertising campaigns
illustrates how some advertisers are re-evaluating the way they target
Causey sees consumers’ weariness of being sold to as the biggest
challenge for agencies. ’The ever-growing group of consumers who are
marketing resistant will tax even the most astute advertiser,’ he
’Americans have bought for the past 30 years without finding the
promised fulfilment. As our population matures, the race to acquire is
giving way to a desire to experience something more satisfying. In 2000,
simplification is the most powerful symbol of achievement - as
complexity was in the 80s, when having no free time was a mark of having
Jane Austin is the editor of Campaign Screen.