WHAT ARE THE KEY CHANGES IN ADVERTISING 20 AND OVER YEARS AGO?
Advertising from 20 years ago is sitting somewhere on a tropical beach drinking cocktails and enjoying a cool and gentle breeze. After “his” golden age, he gathered up his favourite things, collected his golden pay-check and pretty much walked away into the sunset and away from the industry. Some of them decided to stick around a little longer and remodelled and reclassified themselves thus transforming into a “Super Advertiser” selling outdated snake-oil to gullible clients. Today, we are going to have to fight very hard to get a piece of that same beach… if we ever get it at all. Competition is fiercer, budgets and fees are considerably smaller and the business has become significantly more competitive. Compared to 20 years ago, we’re going to have to be more pragmatic, a lot more creative and certainly more professional. I really think we should be aiming to compete a lot more outside of the country.
CAN YOU REMEMBER ONE CAMPAIGN 15-20 YEARS AGO THAT WAS INNOVATIVE AT THAT TIME?
There many of them, some of which; from a creative perspective; might even be considered innovative today. We saw the emergence of the Guinness TVC campaigns, Got Milk, Diesel Clothing, Nike, Absolute Vodka and many others… I don’t know, perhaps I’m simply nostalgic. Either way, the creative work from 15 years ago and especially with certain brands have left a very strong impression on the industry to this very day. I think it’s around about that period that we began moving away from big budget spectacles and loud and garish print into more refined and nuanced forms of storytelling. The difference (again) is budgets and of course the explosion of the internet and the emergence of social networks. Regardless, good campaigns are always centred on human stories, universal truths and forms of expression that don’t insult your intelligence.
DO THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY NEED TO CREATE OR TRACK TRENDS FROM OTHER INDUSTRIES?
Advertising should create communication trends. That is its purpose and definition. It would be great if those trends do not constantly “sell” stereotypical, one-sided ideas about certain topics and issues… but I also know that it is not always realistic to expect this. Advertising can shape opinions and behaviours, set standards and perceptions. That’s why I’m against various forms and manifestations of mainstream advertising. I am always in favour of a healthy business environment where “good” motives and “healthy” intentions overlap with earning “good” profits.
DO THE AGENCIES IN SERBIA HAVE THE POTENTIAL AND RESOURCES TO IMPLEMENT THE GLOBAL TRENDS AND OFFERS TO THE COMPANIES AN EFFICIENT SERVICE?
Trends are not late, trends arrive on time even in Serbia, especially because we live in a time of constant technological development and are able to easily and quickly access data and information. We’re also working with very prominent global brands that demand a certain level of service and sophistication. However, implementing some of these trends is a different story. Is it because Serbia does not have a strong advertising tradition? Or is it a lack of courage, motivation and competitive spirit? I feel somehow that this should come as no surprise, we seem to be late at many things. Advertising is not a parallel universe immune to Serbian political and social influences.
WHEN DO WE TALK ABOUT THE AGENCY TRANSFORMATION – WHAT TYPE OF TRANSFORMATION ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? WHAT DOES THIS TERM MEAN FROM THE AGENCY VIEW?
The “dudes” who left for the tropical beach to drink cocktails left us with a diverse set of problems. The single biggest in my opinion is the fact that they neglected to provide a road-map for moving forward in an ever-changing and dynamic industry. Granted, they themselves were probably not qualified for this task to begin with. It’s up to our generation to solve this problem. If we don’t, our proverbial tropical beach will be nothing more than a mirage in the desert. It’s up to both agencies and clients to play a key role in this transformation. Together, we need to redefine value systems and to clearly divide and define roles. Transforming an agency means that it is no longer enough to worry about how the brand will communicate, but to identify, understand and solve the client’s problems from all business aspects. On the other hand, clients / companies need to be sufficiently aware and educated to understand these new parameters and to fully appreciate the value and power of efficient and intelligent business strategies. To repeat, I also think that transformation in a Serbian agency should mean looking to create a standard that allows that agency to compete successfully outside of the country.