Enlightened clients could pave way for a stellar 2014
A view from Danny Rogers

Enlightened clients could pave way for a stellar 2014

With Campaign's Big Awards - the British ad industry's biggest single celebration - taking place last night, it now feels appropriate to begin reflecting on 2013.

The impression from anyone attending the Big Awards would have been some standout work from the usual suspects (Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Wieden & Kennedy, Mother, Adam & Eve/DDB) and from the resurgent WPP networks of Grey and Ogilvy & Mather. There was also some top-notch interactive output from AKQA and Google Creative Lab.

This is a good summary of the way the year has gone so far. I have written here recently about the newly buoyant television advertising market, and this is where the creative stalwarts such as W&K and Mother have shone. Interestingly, Ogilvy has thrived in the hitherto creatively unloved formats of outdoor and press. But one sensed that client energies are still focused on the new and interactive.

For many years, companies have felt able to cut back on their marketing staff
and budgets. But the tide is turning

The trends in spend reflect this. There has been a glut of new advertising reports recently from the Advertising Association, the IPA and Enders Analysis, the conclusion being that adspend will have grown by about 3 per cent during 2013. Within that, internet growth is well into double figures, TV is about on trend and most other media – particularly print – are dragging the overall average down.

Large established shops such as Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and BBH have thankfully got their act together digitally, while VCCP’s long-held strategy towards media neutrality is now paying off big time.

Bubbling under are many thriving digital specialists including Work Club, Beyond, Livity and Huge. You will hear much more of these in 2014.

Encouragingly, the forecasts for 2014 are more buoyant still. Enders and the AA are now predicting adspend growth from 3.4 to 5.2 per cent next year. All the aforementioned shops are set to benefit from this resurgence, so long as they continue to invest in digital technology, talent and – above all – breakthrough creative thinking for clients.

Indeed, I would argue that it is the brands that now need to look hard at their side of the deal. A recent survey in the US revealed that newly confident agencies are shunning client briefs that are vague, low-budget or unrealistic in expectation.

For many years, companies have felt able to cut back on their marketing staff and budgets, and squeeze creative harder. But the tide is turning. All the latest indicators suggest the story for 2014 will be the good agencies creating more effective, interactive work and receiving better treatment from the more enlightened paymasters.