The South African advertising industry needs to change

[et_pb_section fb_built=\”1\” admin_label=\”Intro Section\” _builder_version=\”3.26\” custom_padding=\”0px||0px||true\”][et_pb_row column_structure=\”1_3,2_3\” use_custom_gutter=\”on\” gutter_width=\”1\” make_equal=\”on\” admin_label=\”Intro Row\” _builder_version=\”3.26\” custom_padding=\”0px||0px||true|false\”][et_pb_column type=\”1_3\” _builder_version=\”3.25\” custom_padding=\”|||\” custom_padding__hover=\”|||\”][et_pb_text admin_label=\”Post Title\” _builder_version=\”3.19.10\” _dynamic_attributes=\”content\” text_font=\”|700||on|||||\” text_text_color=\”#f36c21\” text_font_size=\”16px\” header_font=\”||||||||\” header_line_height=\”1.6em\” custom_padding=\”2px|10px||30px\”]@ET-DC@eyJkeW5hbWljIjp0cnVlLCJjb250ZW50IjoicG9zdF90aXRsZSIsInNldHRpbmdzIjp7ImJlZm9yZSI6IiIsImFmdGVyIjoiIn19@[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=\”3.19.5\” _dynamic_attributes=\”content\” text_font=\”|700||on|||||\” text_text_color=\”#576578\” text_line_height=\”1.4em\” header_font=\”|700|||||||\” header_text_color=\”#f36c21\” header_font_size=\”16px\” header_line_height=\”1.2em\” header_2_font=\”|700||on|||||\” header_2_text_color=\”#f36c21\” header_2_font_size=\”16px\” header_2_line_height=\”1.2em\” header_6_font=\”|||on|||||\” header_6_text_color=\”#586579\” header_6_font_size=\”8px\” header_6_line_height=\”1.5em\” custom_margin=\”|14px||\” custom_padding=\”7px|||30px||false\”]@ET-DC@eyJkeW5hbWljIjp0cnVlLCJjb250ZW50IjoicG9zdF9jYXRlZ29yaWVzIiwic2V0dGluZ3MiOnsiYmVmb3JlIjoiQ2F0OiAiLCJhZnRlciI6IiIsImxpbmtfdG9fdGVybV9wYWdlIjoib24iLCJzZXBhcmF0b3IiOiIgfCAiLCJjYXRlZ29yeV90eXBlIjoiY2F0ZWdvcnkifX0=@[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=\”3.19.5\” _dynamic_attributes=\”content\” text_font=\”|700||on|||||\” text_text_color=\”#576578\” text_line_height=\”1.4em\” header_font=\”|700|||||||\” header_text_color=\”#f36c21\” header_font_size=\”16px\” header_line_height=\”1.2em\” header_2_font=\”|700||on|||||\” header_2_text_color=\”#f36c21\” header_2_font_size=\”16px\” header_2_line_height=\”1.2em\” header_6_font=\”|||on|||||\” header_6_text_color=\”#586579\” header_6_font_size=\”8px\” header_6_line_height=\”1.5em\” custom_margin=\”|14px||\” custom_padding=\”0px|||30px||false\”]@ET-DC@eyJkeW5hbWljIjp0cnVlLCJjb250ZW50IjoicG9zdF9kYXRlIiwic2V0dGluZ3MiOnsiYmVmb3JlIjoiRGF0ZTogIiwiYWZ0ZXIiOiIiLCJkYXRlX2Zvcm1hdCI6ImRlZmF1bHQiLCJjdXN0b21fZGF0ZV9mb3JtYXQiOiIifX0=@[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=\”3.19.5\” _dynamic_attributes=\”content\” text_font=\”|700||on|||||\” text_text_color=\”#576578\” text_line_height=\”1.4em\” header_font=\”|700|||||||\” header_text_color=\”#f36c21\” header_font_size=\”16px\” header_line_height=\”1.2em\” header_2_font=\”|700||on|||||\” header_2_text_color=\”#f36c21\” header_2_font_size=\”16px\” header_2_line_height=\”1.2em\” header_6_font=\”|||on|||||\” header_6_text_color=\”#586579\” header_6_font_size=\”8px\” header_6_line_height=\”1.5em\” custom_margin=\”|14px||\” custom_padding=\”0px|||30px||false\”]@ET-DC@eyJkeW5hbWljIjp0cnVlLCJjb250ZW50IjoicG9zdF9hdXRob3IiLCJzZXR0aW5ncyI6eyJiZWZvcmUiOiJXcml0ZXI6ICIsImFmdGVyIjoiIiwibmFtZV9mb3JtYXQiOiJkaXNwbGF5X25hbWUiLCJsaW5rIjoib2ZmIiwibGlua19kZXN0aW5hdGlvbiI6ImF1dGhvcl9hcmNoaXZlIn19@[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=\”2_3\” _builder_version=\”3.25\” custom_padding=\”|||\” custom_padding__hover=\”|||\”][et_pb_text _builder_version=\”3.26.3\” text_font=\”||||||||\” text_font_size=\”10.5px\” custom_padding=\”|20px||\” custom_padding_tablet=\”|||30px\” custom_padding_last_edited=\”on|desktop\”]The South African advertising industry needs an overhaul. Overly-controlling clients and pandering advertising execs are stifling the creativity of a once flourishing industry. Indeed, the advertising industry of today is generating a lot of money, but at what cost to the actual effectiveness of adverts?

In April 2018, a tweet was published by Chris Botha, the CEO of The Media Shop. “TV Clutter? A total of 529,065 spots flighted across all TV stations in March 2018. Including station promos, 938 advertisers spent R3,144,793,607 all vying for our attention & hard earned rand,” reads the tweet.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=\”1\” disabled_on=\”off|off|off\” admin_label=\”Featured Image Section\” _builder_version=\”3.23.3\” border_width_top=\”1px\” border_color_top=\”#576578\” border_style_top=\”dotted\” border_color_bottom=\”#576578\” border_style_bottom=\”dotted\” custom_margin=\”10px|30px||30px\” custom_padding=\”10px||0px|||\” global_module=\”7027\”][et_pb_row admin_label=\”Featured Image Row\” _builder_version=\”3.26.3\” _dynamic_attributes=\”background_image\” background_image=\”@ET-DC@eyJkeW5hbWljIjp0cnVlLCJjb250ZW50IjoicG9zdF9mZWF0dXJlZF9pbWFnZSIsInNldHRpbmdzIjp7fX0=@\” background_size=\”initial\” border_color_top=\”#576578\” border_style_top=\”dotted\” link_option_url=\”/publishing/book-design/\” custom_css_main_element=\”background-size: 750px;||min-height: 422px;\”][et_pb_column type=\”4_4\” _builder_version=\”3.25\” custom_padding=\”|||\” custom_padding__hover=\”|||\”][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=\”1\” _builder_version=\”3.23.3\” custom_padding=\”0px||0px||true\”][et_pb_row _builder_version=\”3.25\” custom_padding=\”12px|30px|0px|30px|false|true\”][et_pb_column type=\”4_4\” _builder_version=\”3.25\” custom_padding=\”|||\” custom_padding__hover=\”|||\”][et_pb_text _builder_version=\”3.26.3\” text_font=\”||||||||\” text_font_size=\”10.5px\” header_font=\”||||||||\” header_2_font=\”|||on|||||\” header_2_font_size=\”12px\” header_2_line_height=\”1.6em\”]To simplify; over 500 000 adverts aired on South African television stations in March 2019. Almost 1000 advertisers spent just under R3,2-billion (excluding production fees) on this form of media alone. That is an incredible amount of money when you consider the effectiveness of the adverts to the audience.

Effectiveness of adverts needs to be assessed

Pepe Marais, founding partner and group CEO of Joe Public United, sums it up. “Consider this: of all those spots that flighted in one month alone, how many made an actual impact? Stirred up conversation? Moved people to such a degree that it may just have moved them to purchase?” he argues.

“One? Two, maybe? Resulting in only 0,2% of the total media spend on television in the month of March 2018, to be used to maximum effect,” he explains, adding that that is R3,19-billion down the drain in a country where 30-million citizens can barely afford to eat.

One alarming fact about the effectiveness of these adverts and the amount of money being spent on these campaigns is that few industry leaders seem to be concerned. Their focus is often on profit margins and the bottom line. The advertising industry is losing sight of its creative products in favour of profitability.

Global conglomerates are partly to blame

Over the past two decades, numerous South African advertising and marketing businesses have been purchased by large international conglomerates. These foreign advertising brands have created a profit-focused globalised system in South Africa, where deliveries and income are given more importance than creativity and connection.

“As we started to care more and more about the pennies, we stopped pushing back on market-share motivated, fear-based client demands. Because we had our own market-share motivated, fear-based demands,” says Marais. “We now needed to hang onto every single cent in order to feed the international king at the top of a pyramid scheme of our hard-earned South African rands,” he argues.

The state of the advertising industry can be changed

The advertising industry can be turned around, according to Marais. He suggests that the three key stakeholders (creatives, executives and clients) can make changes that will benefit South African advertising and the effectiveness of its campaigns.

1. Creatives need to be creative

Firstly, creatives need to take ownership of their work and start generating truly creative campaigns that resonate with audiences. The creatives need to produce content that stimulates conversation and imprints a message on the mind of the viewer.

Marais argues that creatives need to work for the love of advertising rather that for the pursuit of awards. “Put your ego in your pocket and put the fame of the brand above that of yourself. This award thing has become silly. It’s time to put that energy into adding value to the world we live in today. A world desperate for creativity,” says Marais.

It has been endlessly proven that more autonomy a creative department has, the better the advertising campaign connects with the audience. Manufacturing creative ideas is difficult, but creatives are able to know what will resonate with a brand’s audience.

2. Executives need to support creativity

The advertising industry is a product-based industry. Therefore, the focus should be on the end product that is delivered to the client, rather than profitability and the bottom line. Marais encourages advertising executives to stand for the product and the power of creativity.

“Standing for your product (just as Steve Jobs as the CEO of Apple, the most valuable company on the planet, stood for his product) is how you create healthy internal and external relationships and, dare I say, better margins. It’s how you create true value for your clients,” argues Marais.

Agency executives have an important role to play in the daily running of the business, but they should also understand the importance of the creative process in building audiences and adding value to advertising campaigns.

3. Clients need to allow the agency to do its thing

The clients are what keeps the industry alive, but they also need to trust in their advertising agency and let them work on campaigns unrestricted. If clients want to truly gain market share and make an impact on consumers, then they need to allow the ad agency to do what they do best.

“These over-governed, over-processed, lacklustre ideas by committee that adorn every inch of the media spaces available to us, both traditionally and digitally, are not only a waste of our collective sweat and the cause of many tears – not to mention the billions of rands of your shareholders – but they simply don’t work,” explains Marais.

He encourages clients to give their agencies more creative freedom. “Empower [agencies] with your trust. Show them more love. And you will find that the more you give, the more you get. Do this, and not only will they be willing to bend over backwards for you, but your brand and product will soar.” says Marais.

These changes will put the South African advertising industry back on the road to effectiveness and outstanding deliverables. Freedom and artistic expression are keys to a creative industry that resonates with audiences and enhances sales.
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