In two weeks time all the beautiful people in South Africa’s advertising industry will gather together to heap praises on each other. It is Loerie Awards time.
A time that is precious for many in the ad industry because it is about the only few days in the year when someone, somewhere is not crapping on them.
Clients crap on agency bosses, agency bosses crap on client service people, client service people crap on creatives. It’s like pigeon city in berry season.
Creatives have no one to crap on so they let it all out at the Loeries.
That’s why advertising awards are so important. They have nothing to do with the fact that the awards advertising people give out very often haven’t actually proven themselves in the marketplace but everything to do with keeping morale running high.
On a serious note however, one cannot help but ask these faced whether advertising is alive or dead?
I believe it is both. Advertising for advertising sake is dead and a waste of money. That’s the kind of advertising you see on TV particularly during the weekly screening of mini-series. Ads that repeat themselves every commercial break and that never change for weeks on end.
Or, for that matter, TV and radio commercials that are repeated at far too high a frequency. Some advertising and media people will tell you that success is all about “bursts” which is true, but unfortunately some bursts have become tsunamis and there is nothing that puts a consumer off a brand faster than being drowned in tsunami of repetition.
But advertising that is carefully planned and targeted works a treat. Unfortunately it seems to be in the minority.
Advertising is and will always be crucial to all brands. But, implementing good advertising and measuring it is becoming a massive challenge.
I have a lot of young people asking me if it is worth getting into the ad industry these days. Depending on who they are and their level of passion I always try and encourage them to do so. Done right, it is a hugely rewarding profession.
For those who just want to be in the ad industry for the money and the possibility of owning a Porsche, I have to lay the facts on the line.
As I did when veteran rugby player, Griespomp Duvenage, annonced that he was retiring from the game to start a career in advertising.
“On behalf of the ad industry, let me be the first to congratulate you on your choice of a post-rugby career. There are a lot of similarities, you know.
For starters, advertising also involves a contest between two teams – usually called ‘Agency’ and ‘Client’.
“But unlike rugby, these teams always seem to end up against each other on completely different playing fields.
“It’s a lot tougher too, this advertising game. Oh sure, you get injured in rugby. You break an arm, crock a knee, and pull a hamstring and if tempers really get to boiling point somebody’s ear gets a chunk bitten out of it.
“All small potatoes.
“People in the ad game scoff at pulled hamstrings and embrace the complete loss of a limb with nonchalant grins and half an aspirin.
“And listen, Griespomp, you have no idea what bad refereeing is all about just playing rugby. All you’ve had to worry about so far is a partially sighted guy in the middle, two of his mates on the sidelines desperate to make some sort of contribution beyond just waving a flag and another judgmental fellow up in the grandstands watching kyk-weers on television.
“In the ad game you will come up against a formidable and enigmatic referee called the Advertising Standards Authority, which strangely enough, is appointed jointly by the agency and client teams who immediately whine about every decision.
“And if you think that the game will be difficult with both agency and client playing on different fields, be prepared for the ref to be somewhere else entirely.
“The ASA does not directly referee the game but looks the other way until a single spectator on the grandstands spots an infringement. Both teams immediately get a red card and this really doesn’t matter whether the violation involved was a late tackle or whether the spectator just considered the number on the back of your jersey to have been sewn on rather crudely.
“And unlike rugby, not a single member of either agency nor client XV would probably lift a finger to help if a crazed spectator ran onto the field and crash-tackled the referee.
“Oh, and if you still want to move from rugby into the ad business, don’t bother to bring your gum guard, because you’ll need to use your mouth a lot.
“Kind regards and best wishes
Griespomp wrote back a few months later to announce his retirement from the advertising industry and chose instead to take up cricket which he says he will play without wearing any form of protective gear like a helmet, gloves and a box because, “There isn’t a sport invented that can cause the amount of bodily harm of that imparted by the advertising industry.”
Actually what he really said was; “Fok…”
Follow Chris Moerdyk on Twitter @chrismoerdyk