Campaign Middle East - - NEWS -

Big ad agency groups must change be­cause they are “equally chal­lenged” com­pared with pub­lish­ers, ac­cord­ing to Pemsel. “Google and Face­book are cre­at­ing as many com­pli­ca­tions for them as they are for us,” he says.

Pemsel spent his early ca­reer at WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather and says: “The hold­ing com­pa­nies feel like they’re set up to de­liver share­holder value and they’ve slightly lost sight of the fact that there is a client who needs strong, in­de­pen­dent ad­vice.

“If you started with the client and held up a mir­ror to the [agency] or­gan­i­sa­tions if they don’t change, the com­pa­nies might move a bit more quickly.”

GMG has dis­closed for the last three years in its ac­counts that it pays re­bates to me­dia agen­cies in re­turn for cer­tain vol­umes of spend – a prac­tice that Pemsel ac­cepts as “a fact of life about how me­dia gets traded”, even though “we can de­bate the pros and cons” of re­bates.

Still, Pemsel hints that wider struc­tural changes are go­ing to force agen­cies to change the way they do busi­ness.

“One needs to go to the other end of the tele­scope [from re­bates] and let’s just work out the true def­i­ni­tion of the role the me­dia agency plays now with the in­creased con­sol­i­da­tion of in­vest­ment hap­pen­ing in very few places,” he says.

The Guardian has shaken up its own agency re­la­tion­ships, us­ing Oliver as an on-site agency in the pub­lisher’s of­fice for fast­turnaround, dig­i­tal cre­ative.

But Pemsel warns the ad in­dus­try must not lose sight of the big pic­ture and long-term strate­gic think­ing at this time of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion and au­toma­tion.

“If we don’t think about the role of brand and qual­ity of cre­ative ideas, then I’m not en­tirely sure where you’ll end up,” he warns.

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