Tag: agency

This former ad agency CEO says the ad industry has 3 major delusions holding it back

bob hoffman

Bob Hoffman is the former owner and CEO of ad firm Hoffman/Lewis. After 22 years of experience with his own ad firm, Hoffman is convinced that “the marketing and advertising industries are currently in state of great confusion.”

Hoffman has become known as the “Ad Contrarian.” He sold his firm in 2013 and since then the caustic, but funny ex-ad man has made a name for himself in critiquing the ad business.

Speaking at the Shift 2016 conference in London on Tuesday, he said that there are three major misconceptions clouding the industry: “All of these delusions have one thing in common: they take a little bit of truth and then they distort it and they exaggerate it and they torture it to the point at which it does our marketers more harm than good.”

1. The brand delusion

The first mistake advertisers make is thinking that other people actually care about their brands.

“Creating a strong brand should be every marketer’s primary objective and the highest role of advertising is to create a strong brand. But our industry has taken these truths and twisted them into silly fantasies,” Hoffman said. “There’s a widespread belief in our business that consumers are in love with brands. That consumers want to have brand experiences and brand relationships and be personally engaged with brands and read branded story telling.”

One consequence of “all this baloney” is that the industry has spent almost 10 years and “billions of dollars exhorting people to join the conversation of our brands.” But it’s still unclear what that conversation is.

Hoffman continued: “People have shaky jobs and unstable families, they have illnesses, they have debts, they have washing machines that don’t work, they have funny things growing on their backs, they have kids that are unhappy, they have a lot of things to care deeply about. It’s very unwise to believe that they care deeply about our batteries, our wet wipes and our chicken strips.”

2. The digital delusion

The next false belief that Hoffman says is damaging the ad industry is the over- exaggeration about the importance of digital.

He said: “As a result of all our reliance on digital technology, we have made a very incautious leap of logic. We have assumed that digital technology has made irrelevant everything that came before it. For over 10 years, we’ve been hearing about how a digital revolution was going to change everything. It was going to kill advertising, it was going to kill traditional marketing, it was going to kill everything in its path.”

bob hoffmanHe added: “Just walk outside, it’s everywhere. It’s on every burger, every bus, every t-shirt, every bench, every theater ticket, every square inch of the f—— planet is covered in advertising.”

Hoffman then talked about ad fraud — the issue of marketers’ money being wasted because online ads are being served to bots rather than people —  and the other problems associated with display ads.

“Marketers are pouring more and more money into online advertising. They don’t know what they’re buying, they don’t know who they’re buying it from. They don’t know what they’re getting, they don’t know how much they’re paying. If there’s a better definition of being on Mars, I’d like to hear what it is,” he said.

3. The age delusion

The final problem Hoffman talked about was the “age delusion.” He thinks the advertising industry is far too concerned with grabbing young people’s attention, when, in reality, the most lucrative market is the over 50s.

“You know all the awesome millennials we see in car ads? In the US, people aged 75 to dead buy six times as many new cars as people aged 16 to 24.” He asked: “Do you really think it’s a good idea to avoid these people?”

While those over 50s tend to have much more spare money to spend than their sons and daughters, proportionally very little of ad firm’s budgets are targeted at the older generation.

Hoffman said: “According to [research company] Nielsen, people over 50 are the most valuable people in the history of marketing. In the US they are responsible for 50% of all consumer spending.” He added: “People over 50 control about 70% of the wealth of the US …  And yet people over 50 are the target of 10% of marketing activity in the US.”

After selling his firm three years ago, Hoffman admits he started to have more time, so he looked into whether there was a good reason for the massive focus on young people.

After finishing this research, he explained his results: “I’ve come to believe that most marketers target young people because they see everyone else doing it. And they assume that somewhere someone must know why we are doing this.”

Hoffman ended his presentation with the message: “The marketing industry has been spending too much time on another planet. We need to get back down to earth.”

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Here’s how to get to the top of the advertising industry, according to the new boss of Google, HSBC and Ikea’s marketing agency

Camilla Kemp 2.JPG

Camilla Kemp was recently appointed chief operating officer of M&C Saatchi — one of London’s leading marketing agencies, which has worked with Google, Boots, HSBC, Natwest, and the UK Conservative Party. She started at the ad agency five years ago, but in her new role, Kemp has been given responsibility to oversee the 11 companies in the M&C Saatchi group.

When Business Insider interviewed Kemp, she provided four simple tips that helped her to quickly rise to the top of the ad industry.

And working hard is not one of them. “I think everyone works hard, don’t they?” Kemp said.

Be conscientious

“Always thinking that you’ve done the vey best that you can do (is the secret to getting to the top.) Yeah, I think a bit of conscientiousness… I’ve probably got quite high standards as well.

“I don’t need huge amounts of sleep, I don’t think. I’ve sort of worked out that I’m actually ok without. I’m not a ten-hours-a-night kind of girl. Six — that’s alright. That’s ok. Yes I think I work hard, but it’s not about the number of hours you do. It’s about the difference you make in the hours that you’re making them. Your brand is created on the work that you do. Your reputation is about the excellence of what you deliver for your clients.”

Work in a team

“I think making sure you’re always working with people who are probably better than you and can help you answer the problems. I think it’s really important — particularly in a business where you’re using creativity to solve business problems — that you have different types of brains to do that. So, I’m a big believer in working together with a couple of other brains around me to solve something and you get there faster and it’s more exciting and it’s more fun to do it that way. I think that’s a big part of it.”

Camilla Kemp

Retain a consistent set of values

“I think there are sort of consistent values that you have when you have a strong sense of culture. So, for example, you know the agency was founded by some very entrepreneurial people and that entrepreneurial spirit is something that rings true and has been one of the key things for how the group has been formed. We don’t go in for just going in and buying an agency that already exists. We do it through organic growth and finding someone who’s super smart who wants to set up their own thing and we’ll back them up and the create a new unit within the group.”

Understand and embrace technology

“What’s interesting about marketing is that I feel that we’ve actually evolved quickly and adapted more to the changing landscape of technology (than other industries.) And, ultimately, the people in the real world — we’re going to call them consumers but they’re people — are happy to be entertained and they’re happy to be informed. So, if a brand is able to be able to provide those experiences, they’re happy to watch what the brand has put in front of them and they’ll opt into it. There are lots of examples of brands creating digital experiences and content platforms.”

How to set up a marketing business

Kemp also told Business Insider that’s it’s actually surprisingly simple to set up a rival to M&C Saatchi.

She said: “It’s actually very easy in a way to set up a marketing business. You just need some people and a laptop and some connections, you haven’t got to build a factory or invest in packaging, it’s about intellectual capital really and ideas and people who are smart and who have ideas. So there’s a phenomenal amount of competition from all sorts of people who think they can do what everyone else can do. And lots of people saying ‘Yes we can do that.'”

SEE ALSO: Artificially intelligent billboards might lead to the end of copywriters, according to the new COO of M&C Saatchi

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