It may seem like something of an oddity for someone two days in to their media career to be writing any sort of commentary on the state of the industry. But, as they say, first impressions are lasting impressions and my first two days have certainly made an impression on me. Consequently, I thought a fitting topic for my first blog would be to focus on what my hopes for the industry were as both I and it enter a period of considerable change.
It made for rather unsettling reading during my first commute to work when I chanced upon an article that listed advertising as the second worst affected industry in terms of wage decreases – 14% since 2011 on average. Admittedly, these declines mostly affected those occupying the industry’s highest tier positions (i.e. not me) but the article cited issues industry wide as the reason for the fall. ‘Agencies haven’t been nimble enough to keep up with the evolution of the sector’, the article proclaimed and, as a result, firms have begun to favour internal campaigns over hiring agencies. It would not take a veteran of the media world to figure out that the article was certainly correct to state that the media landscape has evolved. It was however, the way the article pined for the glory days of yesteryear – the advertising hay day as depicted by Madmen – as though the future by comparison looked increasingly bleak that I found somewhat problematic.
Having now adopted (if only very briefly) an insider’s point of view, there seems much cause for optimism about what the future of advertising holds. Indeed, the industry seems all too aware of the changes it faces and it is responding accordingly. Consider, for example, the emergence of digital media. By 2022, the number of mobile users is expected to have reached 5.5 billion. Meanwhile mobile adspend increased by 50.8% to £3.866 billion in 2016 alone. Furthermore, the 58th FEPE congress of the world’s out of house markets opted for the title, ‘A Time of Revolution’ as FEPE president Matthew Dearden spoke of the need to take the digital revolution out-of-home. And indeed there has certainly been movement of late to suggest that this will occur. Digital, according to Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Technology Officer, Grand Visual, now represents 40% of total outdoor revenue in the UK and is soon to surpass 36% in the US outdoor market; there seems to me a clear consciousness within the media industry to adjust to the new demands of modern technology.
my hope for the industry is that the drive to bring innovative campaigns into fruition remains
There has been, happily enough, a reemphasis on the forgotten ‘art’ of advertising too with Creative Directors such as Dave Trott pushing for the industry to once again discover the power of repetition. Nadja Lassgot, moreover, has helped to shed new light on how we might reimagine ‘the intrusive, inflexible billboards’ of ‘advertising’s past’. Apple’s ‘Shot on the iPhone 6 campaign, for example, was ‘simple, traditional and (yet) utterly unmissable.’ From this perspective then; whilst the days of Madmen style media campaigns are certainly history, my hope for the industry is that the drive to bring innovative campaigns into fruition remains (whether they draw upon modern day technology or our more static advertising past). As long as this is the case, the future looks bright and I hope to be part of it for some time to come.
Matthew Robinson, Campaign Executive