Opinion: 'Look for the right partner in your client': Raj Kamble

From questioning the real power of social media to engaging in cause marketing with real impact, the author lists four takeouts from 2016

Jan 02, 2017 04:41:00 AM | Article | Raj Kamble

Power of social media
I think this year was very interesting for those in advertising who had their eyes on the power of social media. For the last few years, we have all been eulogising social media like it is the next big thing in influencing and forming public opinion. However, when Trump was elected US president after the world's most talked, written and tweeted about election, in spite of all of social media being against him, many of us were stumped. For the first time this year, I questioned the power of social media and the discrepancy in the social image that people portray versus their actions in real life.
Long-format 'viral' content
A strong trend this year that I've observed is that every client is asking us to make long format content for web, in other words make a viral video. When you read between the lines, what this really means is: I am going to spend 1/5th on production as compared to what I would spend on a TVC, let's see how it turns out and then maybe I will consider cutting a 30-second edit out of it. 
Cause marketing seen in a new light
Cause marketing has been on the rise for the last few years, almost as a sort of formula for winning awards. Many leaders in advertising have recognised and spoken about it. However, in 2016, people have started seeing cause marketing in a new light. More and more conversations and reactions are proving that people can see the difference between real cause marketing, which makes a difference, and cause marketing which is just done for the larger cause of winning awards. I am all for cause marketing -- as long as it makes genuine impact, and brands are willing to put their money where their mouth is. 
The new partnership
Earlier in advertising, the 'partnership' always meant an art and copy partner. This year for the first time at Cannes, I noticed that it was not art and copy partners taking the stage -- it was a creative director and a client. Increasingly, big brands, great work and careers are being built out of partnership between a creative person and a client. My ex-partner Anselmo Ramos, for example, spoke at Cannes this year with Fernando Machado of Burger King. Anselmo and Fernando did the Dove Real Beauty campaign together. And when Fernando moved to Burger King, he continued to work with Anselmo to create the iconic Big Whopper and this year's International Peace Day campaign. Similarly, David Lubars (chairman and CCO, BBDO) spoke at Cannes with the client from Mars. And David Droga and Kevin Plank of Under Armour shared the stage. It's a very interesting lesson for all creatives -- look for the right partner in your client. 
(The author is founder and CCO of Famous Innovations.)