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".
  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.
  • CP+B's Andrew Keller: Failure Isn't So Bad

    In an interview with The Guardian, Crispin Porter + Bogusky CEO Andrew Keller shared his thoughts on failure and how failure can fuel future success.

    When Keller was in college, he intended to become a doctor. That didn't go so well. Of that time in his life. Keller said, “I was at a very small college in a very small town. And having failed, I decided I’d stay in that town for the summer and work as a cook in this restaurant. I wanted to know: how bad was failure? I’d seen my dominant dream, to be a doctor, come crashing down. And it was like, okay -- let’s explore this a little bit.”

    Of the lessons he learned during this supposed failure, Keller added, “I was supposed to be a doctor, so staying in a little town and working in a restaurant -- that was not something that figured in my hopes and dreams. But I did that, and it gave me confidence. Because it wasn’t so bad. Failure isn’t so bad.”

    And even though society and culture view failure as taboo and something to certainly avoid, Keller says we all should resist this line of thinking. Because failure is most certainly going to happen. That's what he tells his kids. He says, "failure is going to happen to all of us. It is going to happen to you.” So embrace it and learn from it.

  • Morals in Advertising: Paleo Blogger Does Voiceover Work For Coca-Cola and KFC

    As proof yet again that morals are nonexistent in advertising, it's been revealed that paleo food blogger  Charlotte Carr has been doing voiceover work for the likes of crap food brands KFC, Coca-Cola and Cadbury's (actually, actual chocolate minus all the added sugar isn't bad for you, according to the Paleo diet). 

    Carr authored the cookbook, Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way for New Mums, Babies and Toddlers, but it was shelved earlier this month by publisher Pan Macmillan Australia after it was reportedly dubbed "potentially deadly for babies" by health experts. Undaunted, co-author Pete Evans, said: "Charlotte, Helen (co-author Helen Padarin) and I are thrilled to announce that "Bubba Yum Yum The Paleo Way” will be a proudly independent digital worldwide release in April with print to follow."

    Carr's talent agency, RML Voices, has confirmed that Carr has be doing voiceover work for seven years. She also does voiceover work for CVHerry Ripe, a chocolate and cherry concoction from Cadbury.
  • Minneapolis Agency Periscope Reaping Benefits of Twitter's Periscope Launch

    Unless you've been living under the proverbial rock, you've certainly heard about Twitter’s launch of Periscope, a live-streaming app that aims to supplant the other recently launched live-streaming app, Meerkat.

    For the past week, the agency has had thousands of people tweet at its @Periscope Twitter handle which it has had since 2009. You see, most don't realize that the Twitter handle of Twitter-owned Periscope is @PersicopeCo, not @Periscope. Even tech journalist Walt Mossberg mistakenly used @Periscope when mentioning the launch.

    Of the sure to be continuous mix up, Periscope (the agency) Brand Manager Bridget Jewell said: "It's been every social media person's dream. Like a kid waking up on Christmas morning, but with tons of Twitter notifications." 

    Of course, all of this unwarranted attention will most assuredly become bothersome and downright annoying very soon. It's sort of like asking people to tweet @FordCo when trying to reach Ford Motor Company.
  • Mad Men Opening Credit Bench Turned Into Actual Bench

    From now until the end of summer, those passing by the Time-Life building, home to the "Mad Men" fictional SC&P agency, will have the chance to sit on a bench crafted to look just like the bench in the opening credits of "Mad Men."

    The 12-foot bench was designed by Pentagram and consists of just two pieces -- a half-inch thick rolled steel plate seat and a 10-foot cast-concrete base. 

    So if you've got a hankering to sidle up to Don Draper (or whomever that silhouette turns out to be) then now's your chance.

  • That Agency That Just Launched A New Web Site Has Now Done Something Newsworthy

    The Brandon Agency -- which, ahem, just launched a new Web site, has just done something a bit more newsworthy. On Friday, March 20, the agency closed its Charleston office so that employees could take the day to volunteer for Operation Home, a non-profit that helps people remain in their homes by increasing home safety and accessibility.

    The agency’s staff spent the day in Hollywood, S.C., with Operation Home building a wheelchair ramp to enable an area resident to get in and out of their home safely. The result was a 29-foot wheelchair ramp to provide easy access for the homeowner.

    Of the effort, The Brandon Agency VP Media Director Shelby Greene said: “As a business organization, The Brandon Agency believes that we have a responsibility to serve others and give back in our surrounding communities. It’s wonderful to be a part of an agency that sees the importance of serving those in need and encourages us to take the time to do just that as a team. We believe Operation Home serves a valuable purpose and we are thrilled to jump on board with them.”

    Yes, that's much, much better that touting the launch of a new Web site.
  • This Ad Agency Now Makes Its Client's Hamburgers

    In the continuing shift away from the actual duties of, you know, creating advertising, 72andSunny has created a new spicy burger for Carl's Jr. The agency came up with the burger concept, named it and designed the packaging -- but they also developed the burger's ingredients. 

    Of the involvement, 72andSunny CCO Glenn Cole said: “We don’t look at our job as being an ad agency or marketing agency. We see our job as being an accelerator of business.”

    An accelerator of business. Well, it's good to know that an agency now thinks that creating advertising to help sell a product is now so boring that they would rather create the product as well. Of course, there's nothing really wrong with that. After all, advertising people are creative. So why not help develop creative food?
  • 11 Pieces of Career Advice From Mad Men's Peggy Olson

    In an LA Times Entertainment piece, you can find 11 pieces of career advice for women that are based on the Peggy Olson character from Mad Men. And we all know Peggy, who rose from obscurity to full on executive fame over the course of the series, has learned a lot and has much to share.

    Advice ranges from not relying on your femininity to get ahead to demanding appropriate work space to taking power when it comes your way to maintaining a professional relationship even when there is a lot of personal baggage to never fall in love with your married boss.

    Peggy's been through a lot. She's grown professionally and personally. And she's become wise with advice to share. We'll see her a few more times as Mad Men makes its final run this Spring.

  • Yannick Bollore Is Perfectly Happy Havas Isn't Huge

    In the advertising holding company world, which is run exclusively by men, and in the regular world which, some would argue, is still run by men, there is and always has been a fixation with size. And size in the sense that bigger is always better. That line of thinking runs rampant from the boardroom to the bedroom. 

    But not everyone thinks bigger is better and while "being huge" is good if you're in a porn flick, that's not always the case in business. Havas CEO Yannick Bollore has no desire to be the biggest holding company. In fact, he thinks Havas is perfectly sized. He says, "Havas has the ideal scale. We are the fittest group in the industry today and our size is the key to our current success." 

    And on his competitor's fixation with swelling to ever larger girth, Bollore adds, "It'll just make us slower. I do not want to be the biggest. This obsession is nonsense, and for what?" 

    What's that saying? "It's not the size that matter. It's how you use it."

    So take that Sorrell and Levy. Bigger is not always better. Especially when you're trying to hook up with...um...a smaller brand.
  • Mad Men's Jon Hamm Just Completed 30 Days of Alcohol Rehab

    Well -- this is sad, but it has a happy ending. Mad Men star Jon Hamm recently completed 30-day stint at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut for alcohol addiction. One could joke about that mirroring his Mad Men character, Don Draper, but I'll leave that one alone.

    In a statement made by Hamm's publicist, Annett Wolf, Hamm has strong support from his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Westfeldt. Hamm checked into Silver Hill at the end of February.

    Hamm will make his final appearances as Don Draper as the remaining episodes of the last season of Mad Men kick off April 5.
  • Like A Car Dealer Screaming 'Come On Down!' This Agency Has Announced 'Limited Time Discounts'

    If there were anything an ad agency could do to further remove itself from trusted business partner and thrust itself ever deeper into insignificant vendor hell, it would be to actually put out a press release touting the fact that it's offering "a limited time promotion on all media packages."

    The release adds: "SEO SEM, infographics, animations, responsive websites, copywriting and PPC management are also included in this sales event."

    And in a supremely dumbed-down explanation of marketing that treats its audience like uninformed children, the release continues: "Advertising can be incredibly complex. Fortunately agency’s consultants can help streamline and simplify marketing efforts. A single campaign has many components, all of which must work together successfully for the plan to succeed."

    So if you need to be schooled on advertising or need "up to a 10% discount" on your next campaign, give a shout out to Eye to Ad Media  (http://www.eyetoad.com/) whose URL, oddly, spells "eye toad" -- bringing up an entirely different image than that of a professional ad agency.
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