Saturday 21 September 2019

Pre post-digital era ready to roll

Legacy’s Claire O’Grady is pictured with Kevin Moore, Bernard Brogan and James Brogan; below, Ipsos MRBI managing director Damian Loscher spoke at AAI seminar. Photo: SON Photographic
Legacy’s Claire O’Grady is pictured with Kevin Moore, Bernard Brogan and James Brogan; below, Ipsos MRBI managing director Damian Loscher spoke at AAI seminar. Photo: SON Photographic

Michael Cullen

When Procter & Gamble's chief brand officer Marc Pritchard said recently that it was time to stop giving digital a pass, it marked an inflection point in the digital advertising journey. Blind faith is no longer acceptable to the media and marketing community. Accurate and transparent audience data is what's needed.

Ipsos MRBI managing director Damian Loscher alluded to this when addressing an Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) Toolkit seminar. Loscher's talk, entitled Pre Post-Digital, looked at digital when the speed of change meant that we could barely catch our collective breath, to the digital future when data - not momentum - drives media decisions.

Former US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke famously used the phrase "irrational exuberance" to describe the herd mentality which characterised market behaviours before the 2008 financial collapse. Digital profited from the firm belief that the only way is upwards.

Until recently, only contrarians would have dared risk upsetting the digital gods by questioning their status.

Loscher claims the cloak of infallibility has lifted. The success of digital is no longer enough to deter scrutiny of audience data. In both the US and the UK, ad industry bodies are putting digital under the microscope and demanding more transparency and accountability.

The concentration of digital power in the hands of Facebook and Google and their reliance on internal metrics is becoming increasingly untenable. Closer to home, data suggests we've over-indulged. Spend-wise, digital ads already outstrip television and, on current forecasts, digital display will soon take a larger slice of the ad pie than TV.

Data begs us to question if this divvying up of media spend makes sense. Numerous sources show we still spend more time consuming established media like TV and radio. Recent Ipsos MRBI studies indicate that we're six times more likely to recall TV ads than online ads.

It's time to stand back and take stock.

We need a level playing field, with comparable and easy-to-understand metrics across all media. Loscher acknowledges the obstacles which must be overcome - the most obvious being agreement on a measurement unit that's fair to all media.

How about a cross-media currency derived that's calibrated for the attention we afford each ad; one that discriminates between a small-screen, mobile ad that's quickly swiped away and its cinematic, large-screen cousin which engages and entertains consumers?

Q: Interested in welcoming in the New Year with an experience that's a wee bit different? Well, Diageo may have something for you. Smithwick's '10 Degrees West' will take you off to Achill island for a couple of days, with some bracing outdoor activities and night-time entertainment.

Over the two days, there's nature yoga sessions, cycles along by the Atlantic and the Slievemore Mountains and hikes. As darkness falls, the island's Keel tent will host live gigs by Daithí, Stomptown Brass, Lumo & Talos, along with acoustic sessions in local pubs. The Smithwick's Achill festival is staged by Homebeat, best known for its 'Another Love Story' event. Festival tickets can be bought online at Eventbrite.

Q: Retired PR lecturer Francis Xavier Carty has a new autobiography out called 'Bruises, Baws and Bastards'. The cover tells us that the 300-page book provides readers with "glimpses into a long life passing". Carty spent seven years as a Catholic missionary seminarian, observing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Unable to fully embrace the rigours of a strict religious life, and having been absolved from his vows by Pope Paul VI, he left to pursue a career in journalism, writing books for his Able Press signature and, most notably, as a lecturer in PR studies at DIT.

Q: Claire O'Grady has joined marketing and sports sponsorship agency Legacy Consultants as head of consumer and lifestyle brands. She joins from Insight Consultants. During her 15 years in PR, her clients included the Tall Ships, Keogh's Farm and Aldi. Legacy was founded in 2012 by Dublin footballer and accountant Bernard Brogan and his cousin, James, a qualified solicitor, who's now CEO. Former FleishmanHillard head of sport Kevin Moore has been made managing director.

Q: Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US and Pringles owner Kellogg has rolled out a limited-edition crisps meal served in a TV dinner-style tray. The flavours include turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cream corn, green bean casserole, mac and cheese and pumpkin pie. Perhaps we in Ireland could be in for bacon and cabbage-flavoured Pringles for St Patrick's Day.

Q: With radio expert Paul Burke addressing the November AAI Toolkit breakfast seminar in Core Media's offices next Tuesday, it's heartening to hear this year's St Vincent de Paul Christmas appeal ad. Again, RTE's Ryan Tubridy voices the spot. After a clever fantasy-reality voices interplay, the ad signs off with the line, "Your yes could last a lifetime".

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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