The World: Insider's view - Greece

The poor economic climate is making life very difficult for those working in the advertising sector, and is not conducive to optimal creativity, Michael Paredrakos says.

Although the economy in Greece has improved in recent years, the fact remains that it is one of the poorest countries in the European Union. The economic situation impacts on pensions and salaries, and so affects all businesses and people.

This is particularly true of "Generation EUR700", which came of age when the country adopted the euro as its currency. They are people aged between 20 and 30 with a monthly earning ability of only EUR700. They still live with their parents and still get an allowance because their purchasing power is so limited.

This generation works within an advertising sector where the few multinational agencies dominate the small market. But how can it be creative when it hasn't fulfilled its basic human needs?

Understaffed agencies do not help. Operating within a tight economy and such a small market, they also have had to cut costs. That means that one person handles more accounts than he or she can cope with. Could you be as creative when you have to split your creativity between so many projects and accounts within the hectic timelines that most agencies operate? The answer is probably no.

Moreover, the bad economy forces all the clients to invest less and less in advertising. Thus the budget that you have to work with is another factor that limits creativity in Greece. The majority of ads that go on national TV are mostly done in post-production, mainly because local clients want to reduce the cost associated with talent or usage rights. It's far cheaper to animate something on a blue screen than use real actors or locations. In addition, the multinational clients are the ones that theoretically should have the budget for a decent production, but usually never do any local work. They simply adapt the creative that their central agency has developed.

Some agencies do decent work, but, again, you don't see concepts or ideas or productions that take your breath away. Most ads are based and copied from ideas or concepts coming from abroad. That's a very sad thing for a country that introduced democracy, philosophy and so many other good things to the world.

On the other hand, you could argue that artists such as Van Gogh thrived creatively and artistically in the absence of circumstances conducive to self-actualisation, and I totally agree with that. However, here I have tried to depict the situation in Greece and explain how the majority of agencies and people work, not how individuals who are unique and talented are affected.

Originality is scarce, in my view, and threatens to become extinct in Greece. Whether the bad economy should take the whole blame is for you to decide. I believe it does affect most agencies and the people working in them.