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What is advertising?

By Jonathan Allard, Chief Operating Officer, Asia-Pacific
What is advertising today? It’s a broad question isn’t it, one that prompts a multitude of responses.

I was invited to take part in a panel at A+M magazine’s inaugural Spin + Spiel interactive conference in Kuala Lumpur to share my views on advertising in 2013. Is there still a clear-cut definition of what advertising is in a period as fluid as we are experiencing now?

The session was moderated by Peter Pek, a local broadcasting personality and I was joined on stage by Paul Roebuck, CEO Singapore and Malaysia Saatchi & Saatchi and Andreas Vogiatzakis, CEO Malaysia Omnicom Group.

Here are a few highlights:

What makes a successful Ad Campaign today? How about next year?

All the basics have not and will not change. A successful Ad Campaign remains one based on great insight, that leads to big ideas that consumers embrace and that deliver the results for the product of the brand.

• The insight is what builds the brilliant and creative idea
• However, while insight is helpful to change attitudes, the end goal must be to change behavior
• Emotional engagement and a connection with consumers
• Sharing – social media space, word of mouth, publicity, grabbing audiences’ imaginations and passing it on
• People becoming brand advocates and extending media channels is now a key goal
• Campaigns that appeal to our instincts and don’t require us to process them
• In regard to APAC there’s the need to understand the culture in which you are advertising and the need to tailor campaigns accordingly
• The way it changes the audiences’ behavior
• Excellent commercial results
Do you think advertising will continue to be relevant?

Absolutely. As long as there are brands seeking a commercial transaction with customers there will be advertising. Not only is it valuable information that helps decision making, it is one of the best ways for consumers to short-cut their understanding of choices. It helps them contextualize their own 'brand' by the brands they choose. Without advertising it is harder for brands to stay relevant because consumers need to have a consistent understanding of what a brand stands for if it is to maintain its appeal to its core audience.

Consumers want to be informed and entertained, but advertising needs to evolve as consumers do. Consumers today control much of what's being said about a brand while 20 years ago brands had far more control. So, while we continue to create great ideas the consumers love, we have moved from “telling a story to the consumer” to “giving a story to tell.” 

TV. Do we still need it?

Simple answer, yes we do.

• It’s the best medium to jump-start a big idea that encourages people to engage further in other channels
• Big brand TV campaigns will always have their place in the marketing mix for sheer power of their reach
• The art of attracting and engaging audiences through the extraordinary storytelling power of film has not diminished
• Film is so compelling because it uses every technique of moving image and audio to capture attention and engage emotions that other mediums rarely manage.
• It remains incredibly important for brands, as TV/video still are the best ways of communicating emotions, and emotions are so important to influencing and priming decisions. 
• As long as people are watching TV, as long as it has a role in culture, it has a role in advertising. 
• In most countries throughout APAC, free to air TV continues to be consumed in large numbers so it is unlikely its role has become redundant.
• Indonesia is experiencing a rise in TV viewing. Indonesia’s ad economy remains mostly reliant on traditional media advertising formats such as TV, magazines and newspapers.
• Global TV advertising expenditure would be worth $219bn, a 32% increase from 2012's total. North America is to continue to be the single biggest market, taking a 40% share of global spend, compared to 42% in 2012. Asia Pacific's share will rise from 25% to 26% over the same period.