‘FB Has No Plans to Buy an Ad Agency’

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands -

The good news is Fer­gus O’Hare, Face­book Cre­ative Shop’s di­rec­tor for the APAC re­gion, is clear that he doesn’t want to take away jobs of cre­ative agen­cies and would rather align or work with them. The bad news is very few of them are buy­ing that line. Ex­cerpts from an in­ter­view to Shamb­havi Anand and Ravi Balakr­ish­nan shortly af­ter his pre­sen­ta­tion at the ad­ver­tis­ing fes­ti­val Goafest:

Are peo­ple in the ad busi­ness scared of Face­book? Clients are not scared at all. They ab­so­lutely love us. They know they should be, and need to be on Face­book. That’s where con­sumers are. Agen­cies are slightly fright­ened of us. They don’t know what our in­ten­tions are. They think we are here to take their jobs. Or are try­ing to be­come an agency.

But aren’t you tak­ing away jobs from the peo­ple who make mi­crosites for in­stance? Not ex­actly. They will adapt to make a mi­crosite on (Face­book’s re­cently launched ad plat­form) Can­vas. I have been in ad­ver­tis­ing 17 years: I did TV and print then ban­ners and then more dig­i­tal stuff. I adapted and changed. The skills I learned, I have been ap­ply­ing to dif­fer­ent plat­forms. The guys who were do­ing the mi­crosites would not have a job any­way be­cause no one is go­ing to them any­way. We will help them adapt to Can­vas.

Do you see your­self grow­ing be­yond the 140 peo­ple global team you have at present by maybe ac­quir­ing an agency? We have no am­bi­tions to ac­quire an agency. We have aligned our­selves with agen­cies like BBH in Sin­ga­pore. We are do­ing lots of train­ing, we are work­ing on projects. We are a very tight ship. The prob­lem with big agen­cies is that they are like Ti­tanic which hits the ice­berg be­fore it can turn. For the last 12 months I was han­dling the en­tire Mid­dle East, Africa, Turkey and Is­rael on my own. I did that by align­ing with the big agen­cies.

How im­por­tant is it to be an ac­tive mem­ber of a plat­form like Face­book to be able to cre­ate on it? It’s al­ways good to see what peo­ple are do­ing on it. I used Face­book be­fore I joined. But when they of­fered me a job, I said ‘I did not know how to ad­ver­tise on Face­book. They said ’Fine, we are look­ing for peo­ple who can tell sto­ries. We can teach you how to do Face­book, but we can­not teach how to do big ideas.’

It’s im­por­tant to know what is go­ing on. I think it’s just the fear. And a lot of cre­atives still think tele­vi­sion is bet­ter be­cause their ads looks big­ger. But phones is personalised and con­sid­er­ing how close peo­ple hold them, the ad is pro­por­tion­ally big­ger than on TV. Some peo­ple fear change, some em­brace it. Most peo­ple in ad­ver­tis­ing like change. We are just there to tell them that the skills you have can be used on Face­book.


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