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Marketing leaders on the state of the industry

Top marketing leaders offer their views on the marketing organisation, the evolving client-agency relationship, balancing creativity and tech, and much more...

/ Introduction

In Cannes we talked to some of the biggest names in our industry about what keeps them busy. The interviewers were The Economist’s Executive Editor Andrew Palmer and Chief Marketing Officer Mark Cripps. The interviewees were:

Wild creatives, strategic partners

Great creativity can’t be in-housed, says Burger King CMO Fernando Machado. Fresh from topping the Grand Prix prize list, he argued that “we choose to work with people that are way more creative than we are and those guys are wild so I can’t cage them as part of my ecosystem … I think they are more creative because they have a different culture and because they are out there in the wild because they are wild animals,” he said.

Lufthansa’s VP Marketing, Alexander Schlaubitz, called for agencies to push back more in order to build even more strategic partnerships. “What we would like to see even more is even more strategic partnerships, to push back more on us, give us more honest feedback. There still is a little of the – I don’t want to call it a vendor type of relationship – but they don’t take the partnership aspect as seriously as they could and stand up as much as they might want to,” he said.

The old Mad Men era where agencies were key strategic partners has ended, lamented General Mills CMO, Ivan Pollard, who argued that the proliferation of marketing options has resulted in more of a client-vendor relationship.

Agencies, he argued, need to get back to being “trusted, worthy business partners” who bring an external perspective (“we’re very focused on our companies, on our brands and we need them to bring the world to us”), a real consumer-first mentality (“to be able to tell us the truth about what consumers are saying – and what they are not saying”) and, most importantly, creativity – but we shouldn’t be surprised that the consultancies have now muscled into this space.

 “Eighty percent of our market cap is goodwill – our brands. It is pretty obvious the consultancy world was always going to move into that space. I think it’s good for the agency ecosystem because they have to step up and differentiate and, increasingly, I suspect it’s going to be good for the client.” – Ivan Pollard, CMO, General Mills

Reinventing advertising

Creativity is being given a very different spin by WFA members. For P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, the answer is working with different creative industries. This works alongside P&G’s “fix and flow” model where agencies come in and out depending on their ideas and the projects, an approach he says has dramatically increased creativity, including some “magnificent” ideas which emanate from local markets.

“We are trying to reinvent advertising by reinventing creativity and merging the ad world with other creative worlds like film, journalism, music and comedy,” he said. “Find creative partners that share your values, that share a mission of what you are trying to accomplish and that can bring the creativity that can make your brand work.”

The key to making this work as successfully as James Corden’s work for SK-II is to “work out something that can make you work together on as opposed to pay someone to speak for you”. “There is a difference,” he said. “It’s about working with someone who is a genius to create some content that they have been a part of developing so it brings out all of their genius with your brand.”

To read on, download the paper here (for WFA members) or by clicking the ‘Download’ button at the top of this page.

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For more information or questions, please contact Will Gilroy