Loeries 2009: Apocalypse Now? With Loeries 2009 looming Mandy de Waal speaks to Gareth Leck of Joe Public about how creativity is being sold down the river by marketers obsessed by advertising to sell.
As the recession bites deep and advertising spend is slashed, the temptation to trade creativity off for a quick sell is overwhelming. MD of Joe Public, Gareth Leck says only brave brand builders are standing firm and not bowing to the pressure of going for the quick buck.
“The world needs more creativity and advertising is essentially creativity, but it goes without saying that it is creativity based on strategy, well thought through scientific principles and a sound business. I strongly believe if you don’t have creativity then advertising won’t work,” says Leck.
“The 80’s were the golden age of brand building in South Africa but now everyone is more concerned about selling and meeting quarterly targets than building brands. A lot of the work is pure sales generation.
The average tenure of a CEO or marketing director is nothing more than two to three years. When they come in these directors are under an unbelievable level of pressure from shareholders and the board, which effects advertising. The recession has worsened this and now only the bravest are doing good work. Generally marketers are cutting budgets and doing sales promotions. For the most part local advertising has become mediocre.”
This at a time when the rise and rise of social networks and pervasiveness of information together with advertising saturation is seeing consumers crave authenticity and real connections.
“Speaking authentically to your market is highly creative. It is all about creativity. Consumers want to consume authentic brands. They want to be communicated with in a real and authentic way, but for the most part all they’re getting is mediocre sales promotions. Brands aren’t cottoning on to the need for authenticity and connection, and in these tough times tend to stick to old formulas. This is exactly the time that brands need to understand consumers, meet their needs and become a whole lot more creative.
Marketers need to realize that consumers consume creative. That creativity is the product. It should be the only measure of advertising. People largely think the Loeries are a wank filled with drunken kids celebrating advertising. They’re missing the point. You need a driver of creativity in order to celebrate it. Great creative that is on strategy will always deliver to the business that it works on, but this is discounted. The alternative is to do mediocre work and currently there’s more than enough of that on the market.”
Part 3 of our special Loeries coverage. Check back daily for new stories.