Hard drive on dig­i­tal me­dia

On­line pub­lish­ers aim to boost new cat­e­gory

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & Marketing -

THE On­line Pub­lish­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion has launched an of­fen­sive to pop­u­larise the use of dig­i­tal me­dia by mar­keters. The first step has been the ap­point­ment of Matthew Bull as creative coun­sel and the es­tab­lish­ment of a new awards pageant for on­line and dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing will fol­low that. Bull is the founder of Lowe Bull and global creative di­rec­tor of Lowe World­wide.

The Book­mark Awards event, in Novem­ber, will be ac­com­pa­nied by work­shops in Jo­han­nes­burg and Cape Town and as­so­ci­ated with Tony Koen­der­man’s an­nual Ad­ver­tis­ing Brain­storm con­fer­ence.

Fer­nanda Ro­mano, creative di­rec­tor at JWT Lon­don, who was such a stun­ning suc­cess at last year’s Brain­storm con­fer­ence, will head the judg­ing panel, run the work­shops and speak at the con­fer­ence. “With Bull as a dig­i­tal fig­ure­head we hope to in­spire creatives to see dig­i­tal – rather than tra­di­tional TV or print – as a medium for mak­ing their mark,” says OPA chair­man Adrian Hewlett.

A whole­hearted be­liever in the po­ten­tial of the dig­i­tal me­dia, Bull says South Africa des­per­ately needs to catch up cre­atively in that en­vi­ron­ment. “The cal­i­bre of dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing at the Cannes Li­ons ad­ver­tis­ing fes­ti­val was out­stand­ing, but South African agen­cies didn’t get a men­tion. They didn’t even make the short­lists. We’re be­hind the curve and if we don’t hurry up we’ll dis­ap­pear off the creative radar al­to­gether.”

Bull says ad­ver­tis­ers and agen­cies need to gear up to the shift that’s taken place in so­ci­ety – and me­dia con­sump­tion. “South African creatives need to rise to the chal­lenge of the dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing era. Dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing is track­able, en­ter­tain­ing, in­stan­ta­neous and tar­geted, giv­ing it many ben­e­fits over con­ven­tional ad­ver­tis­ing.

“There’s no ex­cuse for our lack of cre­ativ­ity in this sec­tor. We’ve got to em­brace dig­i­tal more se­ri­ously and con­vince clients of its value, not only for mar­ket­ing but also as a trans­ac­tional trad­ing medium. We must demon­strate that ad agen­cies are se­ri­ous play­ers in the busi­ness.”

Bull says his role is to “ca­jole the creative com­mu­nity into cre­at­ing more dig­i­tal work. It’s start­ing to hap­pen – but not yet with enough ur­gency. If the ad in­dus­try can de­liver bet­ter ideas and strate­gies, you’ll see it hap­pen­ing re­ally quickly. The fire has been lit: we’ll blow up a wind.

“But it goes deeper than that. It presents a great op­por­tu­nity for ad agen­cies to show their com­mer­cial value by go­ing to clients with proper busi­ness so­lu­tions us­ing the dig­i­tal medium. We hope our awards will do the same job for dig­i­tal that the Ea­gles did for print.”

Jury chair. Fer­nanda Ro­mano

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