AdForum Worldwide Summit: Lots planned for Africa
by Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) NEW YORK CITY: So by Day 3 of the AdForum Worldwide Summit, normally there have been one or two agency presentations that have not lived up to our expectations as consultants but, this year, the standard has been extremely high and very competitive.
In general, the US agencies believe that the economy is improving and that business is picking up — they see this in the quantity of new work that is being commissioned by clients.
Confidential and objective
I think it is also important to add, from the IAS perspective, that we do not share any of the confidential information that we are presented with during this important week. As consultants, we are privy to a great deal of information from both agencies and clients, and our value is being objective and able to assist both parties.
The notes that I am sharing in this daily blog are really a summary of observations or of any important comments made during the course of the day.
Day 3 of the summit always includes an hour or two of rest in the afternoon, which is always very welcome after two consecutive 14-hour days of non-stop meetings until 10pm most nights.
On Wednesday morning, 9 October 2013, we met with Critical Mass, a digital agency born in Canada and now with 700 employees in US, UK, Hong Kong and South America, as well as Calgary, Canada. Led by a very impressive woman CEO, the agency shared its focus with us, which is delivering cumulative customer experiences for clients.
An excellent presentation, very informative and a great start to our day. Some interesting case studies: Nissan — Usain Bolt; Clorox — Green Works; and the adidas — make it mine campaign at miadidas.com.
We moved on to the McCann Group, whose network includes 23 000 staff members across many countries. McCann works hard at making sure that it has a global network of agencies with at least 65% local business; the model is not perfect yet – it is work in progress.
Some magnificent creative work which has won major awards this year at every major competition and for which it is justifiably proud.
A lot is planned for the Africa continent, so watch this space.
We met briefly with the brand new Publicis Worldwide CEO, Arthur Sadoun, after lunch. He shared with us his early thoughts on the positioning of the Publicis brand in the Publicis/Omnicom Group.
After a two-hour break, we met with Sapient Nitro, which meets with us as consultants each year at AdForum and always has a great deal of news to share.
Now numbering 10 000 people with offices in many parts of the world, we are hoping that South Africa will be next on its list of countries — and certainly, if business warrants it and clients need it, I am told that an office can be opened in a week.
Sapient Nitro talked to us about its culture, philosophy and, most importantly, the drive to attract the greatest talent. From a business growth perspective, it is looking at double-digit growth this year.
Preview of Day 4 on Thursday:
And so, once again, after an excellent dinner and charming hosts, we wended our weary way back to the hotel ready to sleep a few hours before Day 4 which looks like this:
- 8.30am-10.30am: Breakfast with Geometry global CEO Steve Harding
- 11am-1pm: Lunch with Havas Worldwide global CEO David Jones
- 1.30am–2.15 pm: Interpublic CEO Michael Roth
- 2:30am-3.pm: Jack Morton president Tara Back
- 4pm-5.30pm: iCrossing president Brian Prowley
- 6.45pm: Cocktails & dinner hosted by AdForum
I’m looking forward to meeting with Geometry, Ogilvy’s newest agency which has also just opened in South Africa, and to seeing my former colleague Howard Smiedt, a South African now in London and ECD of this newest agency.
#adforumsummit — follow us on Twitter!
Currently MD of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), Johanna McDowell has been in marketing and advertising since 1974, with experience both on the agency and client side of the fence. She held directorships in South African and British ad agencies until being appointed MD of Grey Phillips Advertising in 1988; and built Integrated Communications, a PR-driven marketing communications company that went from zero base in 1991 to an R8-million-fee turnover by December 2004.
After graduating in marketing and business studies, Johanna’s experience spanned large corporates, including UK and SA banking, manufacturing and retail, along with a 15-year stint in two of the largest ad agencies in SA and in a medium-sized agency in the UK. As such, she is well-placed to offer commentary on marketing and advertising from a local and international perspective. Follow her on Twitter at @jomcdowell.