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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.

AdForum Worldwide Summit: Publicis Omnicom merger “fatally flawed” — Sorrel

by Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) NEW YORK CITY: Day 2 of the 2013 AdForum Worldwide Summit started off with a taped message from Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP in response to key questions we were asking regarding the WPP group, as well as the potential impact of the Publicis Omnicom Group merger. Sir Martin believes that it is a “fatally flawed” merger, badly handled from a PR and client perspective with little consultation with staff and clients alike. It spells great opportunity for WPP.

AdForum Worldwide Summit: Grey back in SA soon, Maxus could follow

by Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) NEW YORK CITY: Day 1 of the AdForum Worldwide Summit is always a big day, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is often the only time the consultants have seen each other in a 12-month period and there is always a lot to catch up on. Secondly, on Day 1, we have a lot of energy and spirits are high.

AdForum Worldwide Summit: What’s on the NYC schedule

by Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) NEW YORK CITY: On Saturday, I arrived in the Big Apple for the 2013 AdForum Worldwide Summit New York City, 6-11 October, a “by-invitation-only” programme for agency search and management consultants and global agency CEOs. Our role is to listen, ask questions and keep ourselves informed about what the agencies are doing to identify and embrace new trends, to give feedback and to bring our news back to our home countries to share with our clients and agencies there.

Ad of the Week with Oresti Patricios – Satirical ads sell the Times

Newspapers have come under increasing pressure recently. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), circulation figures are falling year-on-year for most dailies and weeklies. The exception is, of course, the so-called ‘vernacular press’, with titles like Isolezwe holding firm despite economic pressure.

English and Afrikaans papers have to increasingly compete with digital, and at this stage many of them are in a fight for their lives. Lowe CT, agency for Independent Newspaper’s Cape Times, has produced a spunky radio ad campaign that does a great job (using humour) to market its brand.

Imagine getting people like Helen Zille, Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema to read news articles about themselves. Well, of course, that’s not going to happen, but with the help of impersonators, you can create the desired effect.

The choice of news article is key, and part of the humour is in hearing these voices referring to themselves in the third person. That, and the fact that these impersonators are really top-notch.

Ad of the Week with Oresti Patricios – Yawn for a Cuppa Joe

For many FMCG products, the best way to win customers is to let them experience the brand directly. To interact with it, taste it, touch it and hopefully to watch as people come away with an enjoyable, happy memory of the experience.

Brand activation in the form of in-store promotion—if done correctly—has been shown to work well in consumer research. So much so that these activations can even convert customers from entrenched or established brand allegiances. However creating activations is labour intensive – much more work than creating a commercial that is flighted for maximum reach and penetration, and is therefore more financially lucrative for the agency.

That said, real world experiential branding can have a limited reach, so it must be part of the broader marketing mix. It also works if brand activations are in themselves creative and clever, and can drive social media campaigns that broaden their reach and engagement.

One way to extend the reach of an activation exercise is to make the experience fun and memorable enough for the conversation to continue beyond the original event. In DouweEgberts’s recent activation, conceived and produced by Joe Public, the ‘zinger’ was the addition of technology that allowed users to interact with the brand in a fun way.

A coffee machine with DouweEgberts branding was placed at OR Tambo International Airport. But there was no coin-slot: all the tired travellers had to do was what comes naturally after a long and exhausting flight: yawn.

Pitch consultant and proud of it!

by John Little, Regional Managing Partner, Africa, The Observatory International I write this in response to an article published on January 8, under the hand of Odette van der Haar, CEO of the Association for Communication and Advertising [ACA].

Don’t get me wrong, I know, like and respect Odette. But we are all entitled to our opinions and to share them, from time to time.

In truth, it was the “headline” of Odette’s article that got me going: The rise of “independent pitch consultants” and how to deal with them [The headline was written by the editor of MarkLives – just for the record. – ED]. I could almost hear… the “unfortunate” rise of independent pitch consultants. And I bridled further at the notion that we had to be “dealt with”. Like naughty school persons or a bad smell?