Campaign India Team
May 27, 2009

AME conference round-up: Day one

The Asian Marketing Effectiveness Festival launched today with a range of speakers.Held at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong, the festival focuses on how clients and agencies can deliver effective communications amid a changing media landscape.

AME conference round-up: Day one

The Asian Marketing Effectiveness Festival launched today with a range of speakers.

Held at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong, the festival focuses on how clients and agencies can deliver effective communications amid a changing media landscape.

Opening speaker Dr Jeffrey Cole, director of the University of California Annenberg School for Communication, analysed the impact of digital on traditional media platforms. Comparing the rise of online with the rise of TV, he noted that in the US the average consumer spends US$260 a month on communication that did not exist a generation ago. Even the poorest citizens are found to spend $180. Digital is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury.

Dick Powell, the founding partner of UK design consultancy Seymourpowell, then emphasised the link between innovative design and effective marketing practice. Powell pointed to a need for both industries “to accept that anthropology comes before technology”.

“Millions of dollars are wasted every year on developing innovative ideas, only to find that they cannot be realised,” Powell said, noting that technical and marketing teams in most cases did not take a collaborative approach. “Rather than advertising a product that isn’t very good, get your product sorted out first,” he urged.

Two case studies after lunch demonstrated real-life responses to marketing challenges. First, Harry Hui, chief marketing officer at PepsiCo China, described the ways his brand had approached Chinese consumers, focusing on campaigns that allowed consumers to participate. An Olympics-themed campaign using a ‘thumb up’ gesture could be adapted in response to the Sichuan earthquake and was eventually adopted by Olympic spectators.

“We position our brand as the brand for the people by the people. The campaign is essentially about them,” he said. “People in tier-two, three and four markets were equally passionate about the Olympics. We needed to provide easy to understand campaigns to get them involved.”

Second, Maureen Linder, vice-president of global advertising and design for Campbell’s, talked about refreshing the image of a 140-year-old brand in the face of criticism from a newly aggressive competitor. Linder said that campaigns of the past, that banked on warmth and the emotional connection felt by consumers, had become less effective for a generation of soup drinkers that paid more attention to health issues. To address this, Campbell’s rolled out a series of campaigns focusing the origin of its ingredients – back to the farms – and rebutted advertisements launched by rival Progresso. The moral of her case study was that even the most well-known brands need to remember to get back to basics and why that brand is still relevant to consumers.

The day concluded with a debate around the issue of effectiveness featuring senior clients and agency network bosses. The panel touched on the swift turnover of both product managers and agency executives and the challenge. Rahul Welde, VP media at Unilever, suggested that short-term partnerships could work, with clients constantly drawing in new ideas and new points of view. TBWA international president Keith Smith responded by arguing that agencies should be servicing that need by drawing in the right people and services to keep ideas fresh.

Source:
Campaign India