This CEO Says Media Companies And Ad Agencies Are Clueless

In a refreshingly honest assessment of the advertising industry, Koos Baker, chief executive officer of Naspers, a South African-based global media company, says advertising people are very good at assessing consumer behavior but lack the ability to properly predict future trends. And with an interesting lack of hubris, considering he runs one of the world's largest media companies, he admits most media companies are in a sad state of affairs today. He says, "I think it’s pretty tough, because the media houses are clueless. The average media company in the world is in pretty poor shape. A few will survive. A few newspapers will make the transition from a print product to an electronic product as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have done. And the Financial Times, which is perhaps the most successful example. In South Africa, you might have a few electronic news services - News24 and a couple of others - making it. But most media houses are as clueless as ad agencies."

Hmm. Usually it goes the other way around. Every person working in an advertising agency wishes they worked in Hollywood in some capacity. After all, it's more glamorous than Madison Avenue. Well, like everything in life, things tend to go both ways. LA-based movie marketing firm BLT Communications has launched BLT+, a new division which will focus on marketing consumer goods and services. From movies to toothpaste. Interesting. Of the new division, BLT Communications CEO CLive Baillie said, “BLT+ leverages our formidable Hollywood expertise to focus on entertainment based solutions for consumer packaged goods, gaming, electronics, retail, QSR, spirits, and other product categories. We can now offer all brands, as well as our existing clients, a full menu of marketing options. This is a big step forward in the the evolution of our company.” The new unit merges BLT’s Marketing and its Digital, Social and Mobile divisions formerly led by Richard Sankey and Julianne La Marche, respectively. Mr. Sankey and Ms. LaMarche now share co-President titles at BLT+, reporting to Mr. Baillie. The new division totals 60 employees, including agency creative teams and directors, technologists, brand strategists, designers, social, and event specialists.

It's not often you hear about a missing person's report in the ad world but that's what's happening over in China this week. The CEO of Edelman in China, Steven Cao, has not been to work for over a week. No, he's not on vacation. No one knows where he is. Apparently, the disappearance is said to be connected to his cooperation with Chinese authorities which, in China, can mean he's being held for questioning. Ad Age reports, "One possibility is that investigators sought to speak to Mr. Cao about his ties to a famous TV news anchor who was detained by prosecutors in mid-July. That anchor, Rui Chenggang, founded a PR company with Mr. Cao over a decade ago, and in 2007, Edelman bought a majority stake in that firm, Pegasus Communications." Reportedly, it's all part of a country-wide crackdown on corruption.
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1 comment about "This CEO Says Media Companies And Ad Agencies Are Clueless".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC , July 31, 2014 at 1:54 p.m.

    I have found is there is the old school media people and the new college age types. I have been working in media on the net for nearly 15 years daily. Prior to that sales and marketing for twenty years. I consider myself a very creative person and have fresh ideas about media and big data. Yet I see the problem I see the transition between the old analog days and digital has created a number of new problems. The new generation of digital junkies have came from college and not really understand what the previous analog generation was about. The new digital media person hardly understands how print, newspaper and magazines worked successfully. They grew up with a smart phone, databases and computers. It is the divide between the old and new generation of media people that is the problem.

  • Brooklyn Artist Sues Starbucks For Allegedly Copying Her Work

    Brooklyn artist Maya Hayuk spoke with Starbucks agency 72andSunny over the course of eight days regarding her artwork and how it might be incorporated into promotional work for the new Starbucks Mini Frappuccino. But after the eight days, she told the agency she was too busy to create new work and the talks ended.

    Upon launch of the Mini Frappuccino, Hayuk felt the rainbow-style artwork was a bit too similar to work of her own and she filed a $750,000 copyright infringement lawsuit against Starbucks saying the finished product was "strikingly similar" to her work. 

    The lawsuit states: "Starbucks brazenly created artwork that is substantially similar to one or more of Hayuk’s copyrighted works.” Hayuk's lawyer added: “When things like this happen, it cheapens the value of the art -- it’s really true. And her only source of income is her art.”

    For its part, a Starbucks spokesperson said: “We are aware a complaint has been filed, and we are investigating the allegations.”

  • New Agency Theme Song Generator Totally Not As Exciting As 'AdWeek' Editor's Picture of Couple Having Sex on Red Carpet at Cannes Lions

    This is most assuredly not as exciting as AdWeek Editor David Griner's picture of a couple having sex on the red carpet at Cannes Lions a day ago, but, hey -- we can't all be in the perfect place at the perfect time. Anyway, nice work, David. 

    Okay. Back to the mundane world of stupid things agencies do when, apparently, they have no client work to keep them busy. Digital product design agency O3 World Labs has developed an app that plays a person's favorite song (anthem?) when they walk into work. 

    The mobile phone app pairs with an iBeacon, which is paired with a Raspberry Pi (a mini computer) attached to a sound system. When the app senses a person in the office, a digital chain of events occurs and the individual's theme song is played for all in the office to hear. 

    The agency says the thingamajig will "make those first few minutes in the office just a bit more pleasant." I say, after the first play or so, co-workers will probably be gouging their eyes out wishing the stupid thing was never cobbled together. 

    Check out the project video here .
  • This Map Re-Draws the World According to Cannes Lions Wins

    Global agency We Are Social has created the Cannesogram, an interactive cartogram that reveals how countries have performed over the last ten years at Cannes Lions.

    The countries are displayed with a combination of color and size that changes according to how successful they have been at winning Lions. Users can drill down into many of the categories using a timeline to find out which countries were most successful in specific years.

    Hovering the cursor over a specific country brings up its record of Cannes Lions wins in the selected year and category -- Grand Prix, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

    Of the map, James Nester, creative director at We Are Social and a Cannes Lions Cyber judge for 2015, said: “There’s always a lot of debate about which countries do best. So we thought we’d use data to show the world according to Lions wins. It’s fascinating to see how fast the creative landscape has changed. And it’s revealing to see that different countries consistently own different categories.”

    We Are Social’s interactive cartogram is based on data from Cannes Lions: International Festival of Creativity, between 2005 and 2014. Among the interesting patterns revealed are:

    - Cyber is consistently dominated by the U.S., Europe and Japan.
    - Film is still a category the UK rules, alongside the U.S.
    - Outdoor is ruled by Brazil, with Europe also performing consistently.
    - The UK and Europe have been doing well in the relatively new category of PR.
    - Brazil rules in terms of press.
    - South Africa is the king of radio.
  • Design Studio Offers Coloring Book Filled With Cannes Jury Heads And Invites Delegates to Get Creative

    In conjunction with their presence at Cannes this year New York-based design and animation company the STUDIO has created the Cannes Coloring Book along with the accompanying Twitter hashtag #ColorCannes.

    If you're in Cannes and you visit STUDIO's booth at Little Black Book & Friends Beach between the Carlton and the Martinez, you can get a free coloring book and pencils featuring all of the Jury Heads including BBDO’s David Lubars, Grey’s Tor Myhren, Matt Eastwood of JWT and more.

    The coloring book is also on Facebook. Anyone who feels creative can upload their masterpieces to Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #ColorCannes.
  • 'Cannes You Please Shut Up': Tumblr Gleefully Pokes Fun At Stupid Agency Tweets

    It's Wednesday. It's Cannes Lions week, It's awesome, right? Mostly, yes -- but certain aspects of the festival are just, well, annoying. Which parts? The parts where ad agencies, brands and other parties attempt to be witty and intelligent with their social media activity. Sadly, and annoyingly, this fails most of the time.

    A new Tumblr post entitled "Cannes You Please Shut Up?" has taken on the task of collecting the most inane, most insipid and most annoying posts and posting them for posterity's sake.

    Posts include poking fun at Interpublic CEO Michael Roth enjoying an #unskippable moment on a yacht, Havas Group posting images of super-smug people accompanied by stupid  #HumansofCannes quotes, something about Martin Sorrell eating his own children and super insipid comments like Ogilvy & Mather tweeting: "If we don't push our creativity, then we can't evolve."
  • 'Cannes We Meet' App Offers Cannes Lions Delegates Tinder-Like Hookups

    It seems the "hook up" is the predominant theme at Cannes Lions this week. Just like Barbarian Group's Dumb Phones, Virool's "Cannes We Meet" helps delegates connect with other delegates.

    Cannes We Meet is a web app that works just like Tinder. After you visit the site and log in using LinkedIn, you can swipe right to meet or left not to meet in a manner very similar to the Tinder dating app. 

    Of the app, Virool CEO Alex Debelov said, "We know that clients meet agencies, agencies win business, startups win funding and products find buyers. Now we're helping bridge that gap and propel our industry forward."

    Nice effort though I'd venture to say that I'm not all that far off base when I suggest rose-fueled delegates are thinking about propelling forward something entirely different than the industry while boozing it up in Cannes.

  • Barbarian Group Unleashes Tinder-Like Action At Cannes With 80 Dumb Phones

    As a fun little experiment during Cannes Lions -- because, after all, sitting on a yacht drinking rose all day long gets pretty boring -- Barbarian Group has handed out 80 old and bricked phones, each programmed with only five numbers. 

    Each of the 80 people can call or receive calls from 5 of the other 80 people to have a random chat, meet in person or, well, you can use your imagination.

    Advertising Age's Alexandra Bruell is testing one out and has had calls with an anonymous fellow with a British accent, a Vox Media person inviting her to a party, a French person who spoke no English and Nick Parish from Contagious.
  • Mullen Lowe to Donate Value of Every Cannes Lions Win To Charity

    Mullen Lowe has launched a program this week that will see the value of any and all Lions it wins during Cannes Lions donated to hunger and earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

    The program, Can Your Lions, encourages other Cannes Lions-winning agencies to join the cause by declaring their intention on the site or by supporting the effort publicly using the hashtag #canyourlions.

    According to the Can Your Lions site, it costs fifty cents to feed a person in Nepal for an entire day. Based on that number, a Grand Prix -- worth $2,906 -- would feed a person for 5,812 days and a Gold, Silver or Bronze -- each worth $1,280 -- would feed a person for 2,560 days. 

    Currently, it appears that calls for industry participation have so far gone unanswered. Mullen Lowe Group is the only pledging partner listed on the site. Come on, agencies! After all the obscene cash you spent to get to Cannes this week, donating the value of your Cannes Lions wins is just a drop in the bucket. 

    Of the effort, Mullen Lowe Global CEO Alex Leikikh said, “We’re excited to be in Cannes celebrating the best of global creativity, and we’re hopeful that the global creative community will join us in sharing our good fortune in support of this important humanitarian initiative."

    Step up, people!
  • 180LA Recruits Cannes Lions Judges With 'Most Direct Recruitment Ad Ever'

    Leading up to and during Cannes Lions, a handful of the world's best and most respected creatives convene on jury panels in Cannes, France to judge the world's creative. These judges are the cream of the crop. Any agency would love to have them work for their shop --  but how does an agency reach out to all these amazing creatives all at once? Easy. Turn your Cannes Lion entry case study video into a recruitment ad.

    180LA did exactly that by submitting a case study video of an entry into four Lions competitions; Film, Press, Direct and Radio. So as jury members were in the midst of reviewing hundreds of entries, they were also delivered a sneaky recruitment video. Quite brilliant actually, and from the tweets some of the judges sent, the stunt seems to have gone over quite well.

    Y&R/Bravo Miami VP Creative Director wrote: "Hey @180LA thanks for the offer in the middle of the judging process. Lol. I'll call Monday." Proximity Creative Director Eva Santos wrote, "A case study just called me by name and offered me a job. Great idea @180LA #canneslions "lionsjudging."

    Delivered with the drollest of droll voice overs, jury members, if not interested in the offer, are asked to "pass this idea to the shortlist and help change the life of another CD."

    Check out the video here.

  • Union Creative's 'Cannescellation' Is The Perfect Gift For Everyone Not In Cannes This Week

    This week, of course, is Cannes Lions week -- that annual Festival of Creativity thingy to which the entire advertising industry heads each year to consume massive quantities of rose, bask in the sun, mingle at the Gutter Bar and oh yeah -- hopefully take home a few Lions.

    Alas, not everyone can make the trek to Cannes and for those who don't, witnessing all the fun everyone else in the ad world is having is, well, excruciatingly painful -- yielding a major case of FOMO. So what's an unlucky soul to do when the biggest event in advertising is occurring without them? Ignore it all, of course.

    Well, thanks to Union Creative, that's now entirely possible. The agency has created a Chrome plugin called Cannescellation  which will eliminate the deluge of Cannes Lions-related tweets flowing from the South of France -- which, in the case of a non-attendee, accomplish nothing but to make the blood boil with raging jealousy.

    Now, if only there were similar solutions for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, Meerkat and Pinterest. But hey, at least it's a start.
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