What's spooking the ad industry this Halloween?

With Halloween approaching, Campaign asked industry figures what their biggest fears are.

Halloween: who's scared?
Halloween: who's scared?

Next Tuesday marks Halloween, a fusion of Christian dogma and pagan festivities. Traditionally a day for honouring the dead saints, its rituals have been adapted and commercialised over the years to become a festival for feral children to dress up and irritate the neighbours.

While those on the receiving end of egged windows, flour poured through their letter box or a firework in a dog turd might acknowledge this annoyance, for the advertising industry there are things that it might find rather more fearful.

Falling revenues, the problems with attribution, the potential risks of Brexit, social discord – the list of worries out there has the potential to turn the more nervous souls into something resembling a nervous wreck. Campaign asked some industry figures what they were fearful at this spooky time of year.

Gemma GreavesGemma Greaves,

chief executive, The Marketing Society

"Letting people down is always my greatest fear. It’s fair to say I wear a lot of hats – I am on day 297 of my grown up global role (including lots of travel), mum to two-year-old Joshie, founder of my own business and of course have a bunch of other commitments too. My struggle is juggling with it all and it’s only going to get busier with the recent opening of our seventh global hub in New York, launching Marketing for Change (a joint initiative with Time to Change addressing wellbeing in the workplace) and ensuring we stay relevant for our members and ahead of the game. I never want to let people down so as we approach 2018, I’m learning to say no and focus on the stuff that really matters and makes a difference."

Sarah Salter,

director of innovation, MEC

"My biggest fear is agencies being left out in the cold by the further growth of ‘technology tourism’. Fewer agencies now have innovation leads and people dedicated to working with start-ups, even though some 650,000 new businesses launched in the UK last year. These new businesses are not only essential to the growth of the economy and our industry, but they are critical to helping our clients achieve success. I still hear horror stories about how start-ups are treated by agencies and of the little progress they have made within agencies. So I hope my fear doesn’t become a reality and that more agencies start finding ways to better work with start-ups – for all our sakes."

Rob Pierre,

chief executive officer, Jellyfish

"Trick or treat? With recent world events, it’s felt a lot more like trick than treat this last year. That aside and looking ahead to 2018, my deepest and darkest fear is that we experience a ‘groundhog day’ moment when it comes to digital transformation. Much in the same way that we’ve been expecting ‘the year of mobile’ for the last five years or so, could we be heading in the same direction when it comes to digital transformation? We’ve engineered our business to help brands transform now. Let’s hope they’re ready to take the leap and lift our spirits."