Advertising Reporting Director
Advertising is working out its lines of work for the year. Talking about agendas is complicated an activity that depends so directly on a vulnerable economy like Argentina’s.
As usual in the traditional year-end toast, the president of the Argentine Chamber of Advertisers, Philip Pérez, raised the topics that brands have on their agenda for 2023. “It is fashionable to attack consumption, forgetting that it is consumption that sustains all economic activity and therefore human activity. From the taxes that finance the state to the work that is our livelihood, everything is based on consumption. And consumption is encouraged by marketing and advertising. Therefore, as an industry, our main goal must be for marketing and advertising to work as effectively as possible,” said Peréz.
The president of the CAA also recalled: “There should be no stagnation in the discussion of how the advertising pie is distributed (today, alfajor) and begin to create a more favorable environment for marketing and advertising, both at the regulatory level and at the level of receptivity of society; build objective metrics that allow reliable measurement of the impacts of communication and professionalize work in all areas. Also stop being afraid of creativity and innovation”. CAA is usually efficient to focus and is not characterized by overacting situations.
On the agency side, Jorge “Tata” Varela, new president of Agencias Argentinas, shares as a key point on the agenda loss of agency profit margins. The reasons? “Inflation-biased commissions and compensation, union parity and wage improvements, long payouts that erode profit, and contract models through non-specialized procurement procurement teams.”
Varela states that “brands must go in a direction in which the idea, strategy and consumer analysis have greater value (price and perception), because it is effectively the differential that agencies provide to brands. If we do not receive compensation commensurate with the value we offer, we cannot support talent, train and develop it, we become juniors and enter a vicious circle in which we all lose, brands and agencies”.
There is no doubt that the challenges are many and complicated, but also a chance to begin the redevelopment that agencies urgently need as the competition overwhelms their ecosystem. Those who came to propose a new paradise for marketing from platforms went into crisis, setbacks began that were reflected in massive layoffs of talent, by the hundreds, by the thousands. Some thought the reality and the level and volume of business imposed by the pandemic would be eternal, but no.
Since the world is world, in communication, ideas make the difference. Can agencies take advantage of it? Much of what happens in the advertising year will depend on how much companies ultimately invest in communications. When asked on the subject, Matías Domínguez, president of the Chamber which brings together the Media Agencies, believes that investments will be similar to those of 2022 adjusted for inflation. There are some points to consider: “historically, in the years with the presidential elections there have been withdrawals in advertising investments and we will not have the important contribution of the World Cup”.
From a more political point of view, I am encouraged to assume that the government will try in different ways to promote consumption to defend the vote and that it will be able to move the market.
But if there is a definition of the time is that the recipes have run out. After the pandemic, “the academy” was taken over by sponsors, there are more speakers than spectators. Something like more teachers than students. I’m usually enthusiastic about the look of the greats, of those who have done important things and who maintain their validity in the market.
I save two in this column: Dario Straschnoy (former partner of none other than Sir Martin Sorrell) today in charge of his own regional communication ecosystem, Untold, who argues that “behind a need there is always a business”. Straschnoy understood that the dynamism generated by advertising obliges us to maintain an entrepreneurial spirit as few things threaten creativity like the company.
Y Hernan Poncein charge of his Ponce agency for more than two decades, a pioneer in exporting Argentine talent to the world, who in a recent report on Advertising report He reflected on the activity. “In this desperation by clients and agencies to compete with audience content, we will lose. We have already lost. What is the place where agencies can be important? In thinking about important campaigns with an important production. People both watch $20 million movies on Netflix and just a few seconds of shit on TikTok or Instagram. Brands need to be in a different space with different conceptions and not things that a tiktoker can do. This is the place that agencies must defend and advertisers should understand that this works too, it works. And that competing with each other is impossible”.
On the same note, Ponce focus on post-pandemic work model, remote working, using freelance talent. “There is a theme with our profession that has to do with immediate exchange, with fun, with many things shared. Creatives who work alone, advertisers who are home alone, get a little more bored and don’t realize it. The world of ingenuity, ideas and creativity also has to do with fun. That was lost. There is something about going in that is reflected in the ideas that appear and are approved. It seems to me very important to see how we reach consumers, where we find them, and do interesting things, without adding noise”.
I want to close this column with an episode that as a sign confirms a clear end of the era. This week New York’s TBWA Chiat Day ran a graphic ad in The New York Times for communicate your move. It’s not just any move. It was “the last major agency on Madison Avenue”. Madison Avenue has been home to many of the largest advertising agencies since 1950. The cradle of advertising. Stage of Mad Men, the HBO series that represented an activity like no other. The ad stated, “It is significant for the moment the industry is living in. The end of an era. The beginning of another. Goodbye to three Martini lunches, days of more than 12 hours, burnouts, goodbye to old advertising, to white-only meeting rooms. It’s the start of something new. We will always need a problem to solve and a brand to build; the good news is that the world seems to never run out.”
Charles Arterburn is a seasoned business journalist for News Rebeat, where he provides comprehensive coverage of the latest trends and developments in the world of finance and economics.