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    [BizTrends 2016] Producing content at the speed of culture

    When one talks about trends it is important to look at who can deliver on them... how to implement these trends, says Pete Case, chief creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather South Africa.
    Pete Case
    Pete Case

    There has been an amazing amount of change and it is sad to say that change is often forced by negative situations, for example, when agencies lose business for instance, they look to change their model, whereas they should be looking to change it before.


    It’s a wonderful word, integration and it makes sense to want integration. The push from the client-side this year will be bigger than before. The difference will be who can deliver on it. The catalyst is the agency that can deliver on a solution to a business problem. Point blank. Agencies should understand the whole value chain. True integration is the ability to deliver on a business problem for a brand, whatever the medium.

    From a timing point of view, the market and consumers are moving so fast, that a client wants to work with one point of contact. In this increasingly complex market, for a client to need to work with 15 different agencies, is almost unreasonable. With or without the economy being in the negative state it is in, the agency has to become the conduit to bring in the right resources and mediums to solve the client’s problem.

    Customer engagement

    Many of these problems that land in our lap are not even marketing. It is more about customer engagement. For us the conversation is not about advertising, per say, but customer engagement.

    We have just opened a customer engagement lab, with everything from 360 degree glasses, point-of-sale, and so on. It is pushing our clients and teams into being ‘Future Fit’. We need all teams to understand this media-agnostic world.

    The agency model is broken. We need to move spend along the value chain to wherever it might have to be to solve the business problem. That is a very exciting and powerful position to be in. And you can be truthful with clients, rather than only protecting your own bottomline.


    We can’t skip data. Everyone started collecting data, but the power of data is what you do with it, the insights you gather. Mad as it seems, I don’t see many people creating actionable insights from data. Data is not an added value. It is core to value. The ability to create actionable insights will be the future success of any brand. We will see a large amount of spend in that.

    Internet of things

    Brands are only starting to discover the power of the Internet of things (IoT). Be it the billboard connected to the internet, IoT allows you to use non-traditional marketing channels. It’s incredibly exciting. We will see much more of that - stepping away from traditional channels into every touch point with consumers, this year.

    Wearables within the Internet of Things is a mega trend. Technology is growing fast and there is a market for it and now everyone is investing. This year we will see a massive uplift in wearables and more people with them.


    We have been talking about it for a long time, but there’s not more than a handful of mobile driven advertising or marketing initiatives originating out of South Africa, which is very few, considering mobile penetration in SA. This year will finally be the time when we can hold our heads up high. Mobile has been a word people have talked about. But I don’t think brands have invested in it.

    This is the year that agencies will deliver on mobile for the consumer, mass media and rich media. This year will be the time when we see some big case studies.


    The key trend here will be producing content at the speed of culture. The speed at which the consumer is moving and their trends, the things that are happening to them now. That is a whole different way of producing content for agencies and brands.

    In agencies right now, we are sitting with people who can create beautiful long form stories. Then we need to create small bits of content for social media. We need to integrate these skills. Seamless integration is being able to create content that is right for the medium its intended for. Agencies also need to understand that brands don’t have R2m to R6m to spend on a TV ad each time.

    How agile agencies are to procure creation of content for brands and create a range of content on different applications, will be the test.

    Utility and usefulness

    It’s a no brainer to understand that you can’t keep bashing consumers with price points and products. As a brand you have to understand how you can bring ‘usefulness’ to a customer’s life. Understand the customer’s life beyond your brand and how they interact with your brand.

    BA brought out an app that saves me from checking in and saves me 40 minutes, every time I go to the airport. The best global example is Nike, which understands runners run on their own and it can be lonely, so they produced Nike Plus, a chip in your shoe that tracks your running patterns and which you upload to your computer where it maps you against all the other runners in the world who use the app. So it makes you feel part of a community.

    Programmatic buying

    Sky UK are starting to put programmatic buying of ads on TV with Sky Adsmart. They can get data about you as a user and marry that to your usage on TV and start delivering personalised ads to you via what they know about you through your phone, internet, TV usage. It will be a very interesting trend to come, with digitally connected TVs.


    The year of ecommerce is 2017 - we’re not quite there yet in South Africa. Woolworths, YuppieChef, Takelot will grow, but scale will create exponential growth in 2017. This will be the investment and proof of concept year.


    Delivering on these trends is incredibly difficult for an agency and ties back into my original conversation – you can’t deliver on these trends if you, as an agency, can’t deliver on business solutions briefs and dance between divisions to answer the business problem. That is a culture to be grown as a collection of specialist agencies. We have redesigned entire floors of our agencies - every single creative is sitting in the same combined studio across the board. Programmers are sitting next to art directors, we mixed everyone together in our ‘Future Fit’ studio.

    It is OK to deliver on usefulness, but we (as an industry), need to crack utility. I think it is important that there is a discussion around integration and delivering on it.

    *Pete Case was interviewed by Louise Marsland, contributing editor & BizTrends 2016 Trend curator & editor.

    About Pete Case

    Pete Case is the Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa.
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