by MarkLives (@marklives) What are the expectations for the marketing and advertising industry in 2018? We emailed a panel of key industry executives for their take on the macro environment, budgets, changes in messaging, movement in the industry and any consumer and communication trends they’ll be looking out for. Mpange Chapeshamano, MD of Avatar Joburg, and Mthunzi Plaatjie, MD of Avatar Cape Town, respond.

Mpange Chapeshamano & Mthunzi Plaatjie

Mpange Chapeshamano and Mthunzi PlaatjiePreviously managing director of Africa Red Advertising, reporting to the CEO of Ogilvy South Africa and overseeing of the network of agencies in 18 markets in Africa, Mpange Chapeshamano (Twitter/Instagram) has come from a heavy client-service background . He brings true understanding to client needs as he nurtures an effectiveness culture within Avatar, improving creative product constantly in close partnership with the ECD and growing a team that delivers effective and creative ideas. Mthunzi Plaatjie is an adman, schooled, experienced and well-versed in marketing across the continent. He has returned to the city of his birth to head up the Cape Town office for Avatar, responsible for overall operations across departments: business/revenue growth, executive/client relationship management as well as people management and development.

Private sector work moving to black-owned agencies

We predict more private-sector work moving to black-owned agencies as the BBBEE Mac Charter comes into play. It will be interesting to see what 2018 brings for the ad industry as a whole. Cape Town-based agencies, which have always been perceived to be slow in transformation, can no longer stall because more and more clients are now demanding it. And the excuse of “but there are no ‘credible’ or large enough outfits to include in pitches” is no longer valid.

The continued rise of perma-lancing

In the talent space, we are seeing the rise of perma-lancing. It is becoming difficult to keep good people, and it’s costing agencies more and more (costs that are not in line with client budgets).

Talent has also caught up with the government demand for transformation within agency (and client) management structures, and we are seeing a demand for higher salary packages as they stand at an advantage to fill this gap. There was an article that was released a couple of months ago which spoke to the lack of black executives in the Cape Town market — it’s going to be tougher to beat the relocation curve.

Budgets and creativity

In a world where budgets are constantly decreasing, we are keen to see how agencies will harness the true power of creativity. Big ideas are not about big budgets, and the environment is fast approaching where clients are ringfencing budgets and taking more control of agency margins.

Managing an agency is becoming grueling, as clients, especially the big global brands, are inexplicably pushing for longer payment plans — we are essentially now funding our client campaigns.

Ever-decreasing budgets and the expectations for more and more are symptoms of an increasingly digital world: more for less. We have to keep production values in check; just because it’s a digital idea doesn’t mean that there should be a low production value attached to it.

We had dubbed 2017 as the year for ‘new’ independent agencies to disrupt, and many of the players delivered on this — from account wins to key talent attractions and awards. Sadly, we also saw some of the biggest and older players closing their doors. The market is tough and getting tougher, and also changing fast! And so, we shall dub 2018 as the year for these ‘new’ independents to keep disrupting — the time of change is NOW!

#BigQ2018 series


MarkLives logoLaunched in 2016, “The Big Q” is a regular column on MarkLives in which we ask key advertising and marketing industry execs for their thoughts on relevant issues facing the industry. If you’d like to be part of our pool of panellists, please contact editor Herman Manson via email (2mark at marklives dot com) or Twitter (@marklives). Suggestions for questions are also welcomed.

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