PERSPECTIVE: Adland’s champions absent as the Oriana found stormy waters

One thousand members of the UK marketing community went e-WOL aboard the Skylark last week for the seventh annual Marketing Forum, and what a surreal experience. It could have been renamed the e-Commerce Forum (see stories, p4), and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I learned a lot.

One thousand members of the UK marketing community went e-WOL

aboard the Skylark last week for the seventh annual Marketing Forum, and

what a surreal experience. It could have been renamed the e-Commerce

Forum (see stories, p4), and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I learned

a lot.



Funny how everyone from Amazon was ex-Amazon.co.uk, so obviously they’ve

learned a lot too! Richmond Events is to be congratulated for its

ambition and professionalism and so are the dancefloor die-hards who

still made it to breakfast each day. Fun’s still allowed, isn’t it?



So, to the inevitable big BUT. Not about organisation, or the substance

of the e-debates, or even the clients happy to receive old-style agency

entertainment, and then grumble about agencies afterwards. It’s about

the defensiveness of the ad industry. The on-board addresses concerning

’old’ advertising consisted of a rant from Toyota’s Mike Moran arguing

above-the-line pan-European ads were a waste of time (hurrah!); a rant

from Walsh Trott’s Amanda Walsh entitled ’Advertising has stopped being

functional. It’s started being decorative’; a further analysis of the

Lowe Group’s fascinating but depressing ’Ad Avoiders’ research by

Western International Media’s Ivor Hussein; and Pepsico’s Tim Davie

delivering Marketing Forum-commissioned research criticising

client-agency relationships. Only the impressive Jon Leach from HHCL

flew the flag for advertising, and we have to ask why.



Messages like Walsh’s are lapped up by smaller clients, unsure of

whether they should be advertising at all. As they sipped freebie

Bollinger in the Crow’s Nest bar, they may have been left with the

impression that agencies are over-priced, obsessed with awards and being

in Campaign, and lack the inclination to demonstrate the effectiveness

of their work.



Walsh was brave enough to name names - the ads she didn’t think worked -

but balked at showing her own agency’s output as an example of how

to ... The plausible defence is that she didn’t want to turn the rant

into even more of a sales pitch.



Integrity or cop-out? You decide.



Was there an anti-ad agency agenda on the Oriana? I don’t think so - not

least because it’s income from exhibiting agencies that pays for the

ship. Instead the industry once again allowed itself to be shot at. I’m

not blaming Walsh, who is entitled to say what she thinks. But where was

the Advertising Association, the Institute of Practitioners in

Advertising or any individual prepared to stand up and relate the many

huge advertising success stories from fcuk to Orange, Volkswagen to

Boddingtons? Perhaps they weren’t asked, but they should have been up

there. We need to stand up for ourselves. Rupert Howell started so

brightly as IPA president.



As a cricket fan, he must know how important it is not to be forced on

to the back foot.



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).