Rothco's executive creative director Alan Kelly has a question for Irish marketers. Sorry, correction, in fact, Kelly has four questions for Irish marketers: What type of agency have you got? Is it creatively led? Account-management led? Or, is it client-led? Kelly says if the agency isn't creatively led, everyone should pack up their bags and take a hike.
That's to say, unless everyone on the agency team isn't defined by creativity, then it's all a waste of time, Kelly told an Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) Toolkit breakfast.
He's referring to agency creatives, account management, connection strategists, producers, media and client. Kelly said it isn't just the biased rambling of an agency person - it's proven.
Creatively awarded campaigns have been shown to provide 11 times the return on investment (ROI) than non-awarded work. The problem is that too often brand campaigns seem to want to blend in with the clutter, rather than stand out. "Maybe we're all worried that if our ideas get noticed, there's a chance that some people mightn't like it and we could lose our jobs," Kelly said.
But if we look at some of the most creatively confident countries in the world, like Brazil and New Zealand, you lose your job if you don't stand out. "Look," Kelly insisted, "we've all been in research groups where one guy has had a problem with something on a storyboard. 'I don't like the fact that the couch in the ad is red... I hate red couches', he says.
"I've been in the room behind the mirror where this comment has released panic: 'We need to change the couch colour now!'
"Well, maybe it's OK that someone doesn't like the colour.
"And maybe it's OK that someone hates your ad. It's not our job to make everyone in the country comfortable. It's our job to break through the clutter of the thousands of messages people are being bombarded with ads every day. To stand a chance of doing that, everyone must be creative."
All things being equal, creativity is a marketer's best unfair advantage, Kelly insisted.
* Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) will not be re-pitching for Ulster Bank's strategic and creative account as the RBS procurement division in the UK has decided to review its advertising. The WPP agency has worked with the RBS-owned bank for over 10 years, during which time it developed some highly-acclaimed work.
O&M rolled out the recent 'Help for What Matters' and 'Mortgage You Can Live With', both of which won awards at the last Effies. When contacted by AdLib for comment, Ogilvy ceo JP Donnelly said his agency had enjoyed "an excellent working relationship" with Ulster Bank but both parties now felt the time was right to go their separate ways.
Elsewhere in adland, Focus Advertising has won Kia Motors, which was handled by RLA in Belfast since 2006. The Kia move follows a three-way contest for the business, with Focus competing against Bloom and Bonfire. The media was not up for review and stays at Havas.
Irish Rail is in the process of reviewing its media and creative accounts, currently handled by Mediavest and Publicis respectively. RTÉ's media account, with Vizeum, IAG's Aer Lingus, at Mediavest, and the Food Safety Authority, at Mindshare, are all out to pitch.
* In a bid to further enhance its influence at home and overseas, the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) has rebranded with a new corporate identity, tagline and website. The redesign was created in-house by head of brand Ray Doyle, who, with Ken Stanley, co-founded Brand Social, the agency acquired by Javelin three years ago.
Co-launched by director Ian Dodson in 2008, DMI has expanded over the last three years and is now certified with 80 colleges, universities and training providers overseas. It handles certified corporate training in digital marketing for IBM and Vodafone.
DMI's website switched from a mainly orange colour palette to blue to promote greater trust, professionalism and loyalty. The website redesign involved its internal UX team creating a more user-friendly and responsive design. A new tagline, 'Setting the Standard', aims to highlight the institute's role as a digital educator.
* Friends First is doubling its ad spend this year by running a €650k TV, radio, out of home and online campaign by extending its 'Amongst Friends' investment funds and income protection messages. The ads, created by OwensDDB with media buying by OMD, are again voiced by actor Simon Delaney, who co-hosts TV3's 'Saturday AM' show with Anna Daly.
* Former McConnells Advertising boss and UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School lecturer John Fanning is the guest speaker at the Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) Toolkit breakfast in Core Media next Tuesday. In a talk entitled 'Things in the Offing', Fanning will discuss the issue of branding in "a new age of un-beauty, rage and fear".
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; email@example.com