Hard drive on digital media
Online publishers aim to boost new category
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