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Posts Tagged ‘Digital

Agencies – what one client really thinks of you

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Last night I went along to the Revolution Awards, celebrating all things digital. And I ended up chatting to one of Britain’s top marketers. I won’t divulge his name, but it’s safe to say he’s the man behind some of the best-known ads in the UK of the past few years and has a pretty formidable track record across the industry.

So naturally, I decided to probe him a bit for what he really thinks about the agencies that he’s worked with. And after a few glasses of wine, he was more than forthcoming. In no particular order:

1. The best you can hope for from an agency is a couple of good ideas a year. Often you won’t even get that. And he’s talking about some of the best agencies in London when he says that – BBH and Dare are two he mentioned.

2. BBH are ‘difficult to work with’, but obviously get results.

3. He really didn’t think much of Rapp – ‘you’ll be waiting a long time to get a good idea out of them’. They are ‘just a machine’.

3. Ogilvy are another agency he thinks are all mouth and no trousers. And they should never have moved to Canary Wharf.

4. JWT are now a very weak agency in his opinion. In fact, he questioned WPP’s takeover strategy, saying it seems to have created big, bland networks.

5. One of his biggest complaints was the sheer lack of talent within agencies. There are normally only a handful of people in an agency he’d actually want to work with. That’s a common complaint, and the reason agencies are such brittle businesses – a couple of important people moves and they can be in real trouble.

6. Media agencies could have cornered the digital space (a couple of Revolution Awards actually went to media shops). But they’re not smart enough to see the opportunity.

Pretty damning stuff, really.

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Written by davidtiltman

April 9, 2010 at 7:21 am

Digital marketing – the ad world’s ginger stepchild*

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I’m busy writing up this year’s Digital Media Top Asian Brands report. This is the third year Media has looked at consumer attitudes toward brands and their online activities. It’s based on some pretty meaty research from TNS covering Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand.

Obviously I’m not going to give anything away before the data is published, but there is one very interesting finding that deserves to be aired and discussed. The data shows quite clearly that people really don’t like most of the established forms of digital marketing.

I’ll publish the full chart post-publication, but the key finding is this: across these Asian markets, the seven least trusted forms of marketing (online and offline) are all digital. Ads in video games, mobile SMS, email ads, banner ads and, interestingly, search ads are among the marketing channels with very low trust scores.

At the other end of the table, the most trusted marketing channels also include a few digital options. Unsurprisingly, recommendations from friends and family is the out and out leader. But expert reviews on websites, manufacturers’ websites, consumer opinion on blogs and consumer reviews on

Maybe digital does belong to PR after all!

Watch this space (and the Media magazine and website) for more data on this. I’m doing a feature on it too.

*No offence intended to those of red or strawberry blond persuasions. It’s just a phrase!

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Written by davidtiltman

March 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Facebook to open Asian office

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So Facebook looks like it’s finally going to set up an office in Asia. And about time too.

As I’ve written before, last year was the year of Facebook in Asia (Southeast Asia particularly). It managed to dislodge former leader Friendster to become the leading social network in several Southeast Asian markets, with user numbers jumping 78% across Asia between January and September.

The interesting thing is that it managed to do this with no Asian presence. It has no office in the region that I’m aware of, and has outsourced its ad sales to companies such as Pixel Media and iHub.

That looks set to change. Facebook has commissioned a research company to look into how Facebook is perceived in Asia’s media-buying community and to advise on its best market-entry strategy. They’re speaking to the great and the good of Asia’s media community. I know this because they’ve approached me to give them some input too (though I’m not really great or good). One of their competitors I spoke to has heard that Facebook is currently debating between Hong Kong and Singapore for their regional hub.

The questions they’re asking make it clear that their priority is boosting their Asian ad sales. (Interestingly, the questions cover the basics of the media landscape in SEA, suggesting that the Facebook team still know relatively little about the markets they’ve conquered.)

Unless you’re employed by Friendster, it’s good news that Facebook is doing this. There’s been so much buzz about it in Southeast Asia over the past year, and the site needs to have its own people on the ground evangelising on its behalf. Another powerful voice for online can only help the industry as a whole.

It seems to me that there are two big challenges ahead though:
1) Facebook often seems to be handled as a PR tool. The way social media has been sold has been ‘get involved with the conversation’. That means branded pages, comments etc – which advertisers can do without paying Facebook any money. It needs to show marketers it can work as a Yahoo-style display platform too. Hopefully that means we’ll see some user numbers.
2) The low level of online spend in Southeast Asia and HK. With online spend still hovering around 5% of total budgets in the markets Facebook will be focusing on, the site shouldn’t expect to make big money in a hurry. Just like the rest of the industry, it needs to educate clients first of all. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Facebook joining IAB Singapore.

All in all, this is something to follow. Watch this space.

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Written by davidtiltman

February 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm