Spain is experiencing a curious time in terms of advertising. The situation is an interesting one, but also quite challenging. I am cautiously optimistic. The ad market is showing real signs of recovery, with reports indicating a slowing in the rate of decline and an increase in the average spend per brand. Marketing budgets have recovered, driven by the rise in consumption and its reflection in sales. But, even more significantly, there is a feeling that things are going to get better. This cautious economic improvement will see the Spanish economy firmly on its way to recovery if forecasts are correct. I therefore believe this now is an important time for brands that have not yet decided whether to invest in the Spanish market to do so.
Local talent has returned; the creative ideas we are seeing here are a breath of fresh air, as reflected in the country’s performance in recent international advertising festivals, with campaigns such as Ikea’s "cookies" and No Somos Delito’s "holograms for freedom" recognised. The decline we experienced as an economy over the past five years altered the Spanish advertising landscape considerably but, after the first signs of recovery, new agencies have started to appear. Surely a sign of sunnier days to come. I believe the growth will continue in digital signage, mobile, online video, social media and blogs.
In general, there is an effort both from creative and media agencies to become more digital, but the harsh reality is that TV remains king due to its accessibility both in terms of budgets and results.
This barometer reading of the market perfectly gauges the current advertising climate in that nobody is comfortable with their offering to clients. Digital agencies want to be integrated and the rest want to give the appearance of being much more digital than they are. The same is true of advertisers, for which being digital is now a must. And yet – in what I believe to be one of the world’s most creative countries – it’s vital that they don’t lose sight of the importance of creativity.
But the buzzword in Spain remains innovation. Agencies, the media and advertisers are competing for the "throne of innovation" using technology to improve experiences and generate new ideas, applications and products that almost always forget that the one who really has something to say is the consumer.
Now, where are my sunglasses? Here comes the sun.
Javier Cavanillas is the chief executive of M&C Saatchi Madrid