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    #Loeries2018: The not-so terrifying future of advertising

    Ramsey Naja, CCO of JWT Mddle East, kicked off the 2018 DStv Seminar of Creativty at Loeries 2018 with a presentation titled 'the headline makers 2.0'. He swiftly told a story that shifted from doom and gloom to a healthy dose of hope and tips to hit the sweet spot in 2018.
    Ramsey Naja, CCO of JTW Middle East. © Al Nicoll, Gallo Images.
    Ramsey Naja, CCO of JTW Middle East. © Al Nicoll, Gallo Images.

    The DStv Seminar of Creativity is part of Loeries Creative Week, the largest creative gathering in Africa and the Middle East, with this year’s line-up featuring speakers from five continents.

    Introduced as a juggernaut of the advertising and brand communication industry, Loeries CEO Andrew Human is a staunch believer of creativity and the power to improve things through innovation, and this year’s seminar topics and presentations reflected this.

    Sleepy early-morning attendees were up for anything after a dramatic Game of Thrones-like entrance from the back of the room, where DStv Media Sales CEO Fahmeeda Cassim-Surtee introduced herself as “the mother of DStv Media Sales, breaker of Netflix and blesser for the creative seminar”.

    Shades of Game of Thrones. © Al Nicoll, Gallo Images.
    Shades of Game of Thrones. © Al Nicoll, Gallo Images.

    Ramsey Naja, CCO of JWT Middle East and Lebanon, kept that energy flowing by asking how the advertising industry’s role is changing. He says it's not to be mistaken that consumers are averse to advertising, but they’re averse to bad advertising.

    Naja added that everybody hates a salesman but loves a storyteller, and he certainly excels at telling those stories.

    We hear of the death of the advertising profession and industry in the media on the regular, so Naja began with the following 'we're all doomed'-themed ad:

    But is the industry really doomed? A decade ago, it was predicted that copywriters and plumbers would have lost their jobs by now, but here we still are. Naja said that Sergio Zyman, former CMO of Coca-Cola wrote a book about the end of advertising, and he’s not the only one.

    Say ‘allo to AI-generated advertising

    Added to this, technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Naja had heads shaking in awe when he showed this ad by McCann Japan, as it is the first to have been created by their 'AI creative':

    Naja says to take that tech aspect together with trends like micro-targeting and personality profiling, and then brace yourself, because he says if that’s your only view then the picture of the future of advertising is "absolutely terrifying".

    But, all hope is not lost. Naja says we need to roll with the punches, make a few changes, and we'll come out smiling.

    First, we need to factor in the current context of living in micro-moments, but this begs the question, 'what about brands'? This is where there’s some hope. Confused? Naja said the following example explains it best, from the consumer and brand perspective alike:

    Naja walked us through a brief history of changes in advertising, from a focus on promises to address inequality to competitive advertising becoming the norm, and then promising to stand for a specific point of view.

    Unfortunately, while this seems like progress, there have also been dips and blips on the radar, with quality sometimes taking a back seat.

    According to Naja, the 2018 consumer's expectation of instant gratification hints at the need for brands to focus on being relevant and keep up with consumers for whom FOMO rules.

    We want it all and our clients want to be able to offer it all to consumers, who have a louder voice than ever before. With ad budgets shifting from brand building to CRM and being judged from month to month rather than waiting for the full year, the heat is on.
    FOMO, wanting it all and what that means for the future

    There's no denying that factoring this all in can be tricky, but Naja has faith in creatives' ability to do so.

    Naja said that the brand of today still needs to be manufactured in terms of reputation, but is also shaped by its actions, the tools it provides and its content.

    That means brands of today are judges on worthiness:

    Brands are also judges on usefulness:

    Finally, brands are judged on their entertainment factor:

    Naja concluded that the most important thing about getting the mix of offering worthiness, usefulness and entertainment right is the news you generate by getting the attention of a news editor:

    When you do this right, you hit that sweet spot.

    Ultimately, we want to create work that makes the world a better place, in the face of the doom and gloom merchants. We need to take that hope, run with it and make headlines.
    Here's to making headlines for all the right reasons! Keep an eye on our Loeries special section for all the latest updates and live coverage of the 40th annual Loerie Awards, taking place in Durban from 16 to 19 August 2018.

    About Leigh Andrews

    Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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