If we lose sight of the need to engage and excite consumers, then advertising will also lose its soul!
Although it is still too early to say how Brexit affected the European advertising market, Dominic Lyle, the Director General of European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), expects a dip in confidence on the continent as the implications of Brexit for the EU become more widely understood. This dynamics adds to the already complex situation in the industry which is changing in line with technological changes. However, Lyle as an expert with 25 years in the communications business in London & Brussels, thinks that the industry is able to cope with changes as long as it sticks to its basic principles. “Effective advertising today is very much what it was yesterday, namely, delivering measurable results against pre-determined objectives”, says Lyle.
The European Association of Communications Agencies represents the interests of commercial communications agencies in Europe. Since joining EACA in 2002, Lyle has co-ordinated major initiatives for the European agencies in areas such as Sustainable Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, obesity, alcoholic beverages, advertising to children, self-regulation and effective advertising awards. He is currently an Executive Board Member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance and Treasurer of the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance.
After spending almost four decades in the communications business, do you feel dizzy as the pace of changes in the industry constantly speeds up or there are always some tricks of the trade which stay the same?
It’s true that there has been a whole lot of change, but it comes at a reasonable speed, so there is time to absorb, understand and adjust. What doesn’t change are the fundamentals of good advertising, which remain constant through changing media, new target audiences, technological miracles – if we lose sight of the need to engage and excite consumers, then advertising will also lose its soul!
What is effective advertising today and how is industry coping with new challenges?
Effective advertising today is very much what it was yesterday, namely, delivering measurable results against pre-determined objectives. The delivery and measurement systems may develop, but the need to demonstrate that a campaign produced a positive result for the brand or client is still paramount. As our own Euro Effies demonstrate, industry is coping very well with the new challenges. Interestingly, as part of the Euro Effies 20th Anniversary this year, Kantor Millward Brown have undertaken a study analysing over 100 Euro Effie cases from the last 6 years. This clearly shows that, despite the massive shift to digital and social media, the four key elements that differentiate winners from runners-up are tried and tested – ‘The Big Idea’, ‘Family Resemblance’, ‘Working as a Team’ and ‘Pass it on’, indicate how likely an entry is to be successful and still provide the cornerstone of effective commercial communications today.
What do you see as major trends in the market for 2017?
There are many! The move to mobile platforms will continue, probably focusing on bigger screen size; there will be more calls for proper auditing of digital media – witness Facebook acknowledging that they have not been measuring video advertising performance correctly; calls for stricter regulation in sensitive sectors, such as alcohol and food, will become more insistent; a continued growth in programmatic advertising will lead to better leverage of data and, simultaneously, better adaptation of creative to new formats to counter adblocking; there will more clarity around viewable impressions as the industry moves to introduce more consistent measurement standards and consumer-led brand engagement will become the norm.
What the EACA Advertising Business Confidence Index says about trends throughout EU after the Brexit vote?
The next Index comes out at the end of October, so it is too early to see what the reaction has been, but the last report, covering the period up to June 2016, showed a sizeable dip in confidence in the UK. I would expect this to be improved in the post-Brexit period as the financial indicators have been more positive than many people expected. Conversely, while the period to June showed little change in the rest of Europe, I would expect a dip in confidence on the continent as the implications of Brexit for the EU become more widely understood.