Take the current general economic collapse out of the scenario and it is my contention that the advertising industry would still be in crisis. Not just in Ireland but possibly all over the world, The problem with Ireland is that we are leading the decline because of our basket case finances and corrupt political legacy.
To cut to the 400 word chase most creative agencies big and small are struggling to adapt to new media or more importantly to see a future where there is enough money to be made from servicing its incessant demand for content and expensive employees.
The media buying business probably still 80% of all advertising spend is now one where all major advertising accounts move between 4 or 5 giant agency groups. They make their money from handing money and back end deals so there is not much room left for a full service model.
So in this scenario there is always an unsightly mill for what is left over. Digital agencies make outrageous claims without case studies, research or long term trends to back them up. Some clients believe them! The current obsession with incentivising retailers has helped only below the line and promotions agencies communicate more Sales and more Offers.
Brand marketing teams are being withdrawn from Ireland to the UK like fighter pilots on the eve of the fall of France.
So what does the future hold, well here a few of my Mystic Megs:
- The digital bubble will burst and become once again an exciting and potentially game changing brand medium without the current set of religious nuts who represent it.
- The focus will move back to understanding consumer behavior and dark arts like Account Planning, Research, Trendspotting and Tracking…remember them.
- Pitch doctors will shortlist an agency that wasn’t founded in 1916,,,only joking this will never happen.
- Big creative ideas will be back in vogue in all media.
- Advertising people will be once again well paid, respected, admired and held in regard by brand owners (see end point no 3)
But all of that aside perhaps it is a time for the Irish advertising industry to realise that we have (at least some of us so far) survived the greatest recession in irish history. We should not be too hard on ourselves but instead to paraphrase the advice on my coffee mug “Keep Calm and Carry on”. Never was so much owed by so many to so few…just look at that Knorr shake in the bag TV ad…what more do you want…Blood?