The World: Insider's View - Spain

It is time for the ad practitioners on the peninsula to stop watching the future of advertising unfold from the sidelines and get involved, Toni Segarra says.

The word "schizophrenic" would best define the current state of the Spanish ad market. I don't think it is so far removed from what is going on in other places, but the Spanish situation is particularly bipolar.

In this country, we usually embrace new ideas and trends enthusiastically (on the other hand, we are not a country that tends to create them). So we have already spent some time experimenting with great excitement and energy on the new formats and new technologies as we become aware of them.

But, above all, we have spent a long time - which is beginning to be too long - arguing passionately on the subject.

Meanwhile, what we have begun to call, somewhat dismissively, "traditional advertising", continues to maintain its extreme effectiveness and clear domination of the ad market.

The situation is becoming unhealthy, all the more so in a country that does not have a propensity for nuance. If the 30-second advertising spot is on its last legs, it should be allowed to die once and for all and leave us in peace. But this is not happening and it does not look as if it will happen in the near future.

When we stop to think calmly, we discover that what is approaching, that future we have already been talking about for too many years, is going to have to be a complex mix of what we have always known and things that we do not yet even suspect.

Time will build this new landscape, which will inevitably be ever changing, with exasperating slowness for those of us who have begun to believe in speed as a fundamental characteristic of our time.

Revolutions do not take place overnight, no matter how much this might seem to be the case when we read about them in books. They are very short processes in historical terms, but take up several years of our lives. And our careers aren't all that long (one can be on form for between 20 and 30 years, but not much more).

Moreover, what we are experiencing is a cultural revolution, a change of era, and it is likely that many of us will be incapacitated by our education and our circumstances to really understand what is happening. Nevertheless, it is we who are leading the process at present. Spain is experiencing this splendid contradiction, which, at the moment, is holding us in a state of anxious confusion, with great intensity.

Perhaps the time has come to act and to stop just watching what is happening, because, whether we like it or not, it is indecipherable as long as we do not have the right perspective, and go back to enjoying everything that the present has to offer. We should be living for the moment and making the most of it, because we have never known such exciting times.

- Toni Segarra is the creative director of SCPF in Barcelona.


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