“From the precipice of programmatic to the untapped potential of virtual reality…from Donald Trump to Kanye West.” That’s how Atomic 212° begins to describe the content in its 2nd edition of The Lunchbox.
Atomic 212° wants you to know that The Lunchbox 2017 is “bigger and better” than the launch edition last year.
It even has Candide McDonald’s views in there. (Those would be mine.)
I wasn’t nervous when I told Atomic what I thought about the challenges and changes facing agencies and journalism. But now I’ve found out that I’ll be sharing pages with people like Michael Stevenson, Nine Entertainment co chief sales officer, Kim Portrate, Think TV chief executive, Tony Kendall, ARN chief executive, Nick Chan, Bauer Media group chief executive, Wendy Glasgow and Martin Bertlisson, Google’s head of data consulting and head of data platforms and partnerships respectively and Kylie Rogers, Mamamia Women’s Network managing director (to name just a few).
Now I’m longing to know what they think. (OK, vs what I do.)
Here’s a little of what the book’s author, Jason Dooris, thinks about the world the book covers, “People are just saying no. No to brands lying. No to government white noise. No to promises not met. No to dishonesty. No to slowness to act. No to boring and dull. No to wankers in shiny suits. No to greed.”
So you can understand why the book’s theme is revolution!
Atomic 212° has allowed me to share my views of the revolution. You’ll be able to read so many more views when the book comes out at the end of the week.
Atomic 212°: What are the major changes impacting media and marketing?
Candide McDonald: Whenever business operates in a tough global economic environment, the client becomes a hard task master. Right now, both media and marketing are under pressure from clients to work faster, leaner, more cheaply and more effectively. Measurements call the shots. Intuition is told to shut up. Creativity battles with conservatism. One of the ways in which agencies can achieve what clients want is to own the whole process – media and strategy agencies offering creative, creative agencies offering content production and PR, PR agencies offering what looks a helluva lot like ad campaigns, and so on. How far will this go? Adland predictions tend to be (hilariously) wrong. The great digital agency take-over never happened. The end of the ad agency as we know it is a ridiculous concept. Agencies have been evolving since they faced their first seismic change – the arrival of TV. They’re actually rather good at it.
Atomic 212°: How is journalism as a profession changing?
CMcD: Journalism has changed. It’s multi-media, always on, global and so fast you don’t have time to blink. The business of journalism is tough now. The old model is dying and the new model still hasn’t been sculpted into a shape without jagged edges. Sales and editorial have always overlapped. The old sponsored inserts and advertorials – whatever the media they were plonked into – were unappealing to both journalists and their audiences. The new paid content is different. It’s not a tediously long, thinly veiled ad. If the fact that a client is paying for it is blurry, at least the content is as interesting as the editorial the publisher is paying for. If there’s an awful lot of it, well that’s because advertisers are not that keen to spend money on ads like they used to, audiences are not that keen to pay to read or view content like they used to be, and publishing needs to earn an income somehow.
Atomic 212°: What impact has social media had on journalism?
CMcD: It has turned a one way conversation into a two way one. It is tearing down the edges between editorial and sales. And it has made it very cheap to promote yourself. For journalists who don’t work for huge companies, it has doubled their workload.
Atomic 212°: What are the new roles in media and marketing likely to emerge in the next 10 years?
Watchdogs. Not just for scandals, although integrity is a very big deal these days, because if you do wrong you’re fifty times more likely to (1) be found out and (2) be pilloried loud and long. Watchdogs because media and marketing have new tools that need safety catches. Hyper-targeting won’t work if people feel their privacy is being violated. And if we keep filling everything in the real and internet world – to the gills – with ads and branded content, people will fight tooth and nail to avoid them.
Atomic 212°: What are the biggest challenges facing agencies?
CMcD: Territorialism. Agencies preach the gospel, “Ideas can come from anywhere,” but they only allow a very small segment to make them – at least in creative departments. Fixations. The current fixation is millennials. Meanwhile another audience – the over 45s – is growing in size and spending power. And arrogance. Women are another new fixation but valuing a woman’s voice took decades. Now agencies and advertisers don’t think they need to talk to older audiences much and do think they know how to when they have to. Neither is true.
Atomic 212°: What are the biggest opportunities for agencies to move into different revenue streams in the coming year?
CMcD: Creative agencies seem to think content production is the next big opportunity. But then so, too, do production companies. A handful of media companies think creative is. Ditto strategy consultancies. I met an ex-George Patts top dog on a freelance job a few months ago. His heyday spanned the ‘70s and ‘80s. He told me that adland has lost its marbles. “In my day, we got paid to do everything. Everything, on a whopping percentage.” I think there are more than one or two agency people thinking the same thing right now.
Atomic 212°: What are the most interesting things happening in marketing at the moment?
CMcD: Advertising creativity. The boundaries of what advertising is have been shattered. This isn’t just fascinating from an ideological point of view. It’s fascinating because the products themselves –a towel that absorbs two litres of moisture, a Snapchat coupon that’s impossible to redeem, ink made out of pollution – are fascinating. It’s fascinating because creative ingenuity is fascinating. And it’s fascinating because advertising is becoming, in many cases, as useful to the world as the brands it’s promoting.
Atomic 212°: How do you see consumer patterns changing?
CMcD: Older people will have to become a bigger force. There is going to be an awful lot of them. But they won’t be the older people that adland sees in its head right now. The global economy (and household budgets) will recover – they have to – and that will change everything. It might even make advertising fun again.
Keep your eye out for this: