Droga5 boss Sudeep Gohil believes people are increasingly time poor and their ‘crap filters’ have become so highly-tuned that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for agencies – and their campaigns – to engage with them.
Gohil was one of the guest speakers at the inaugural ‘Firestarters’ event in Sydney last night. Firestarters is an initiative of Google and brings planners, buyers and industry heads together to discuss the burning issues of the day.
The Dogra5 boss was tasked with crystal balling what the industry might look like into the future.
“I think we can spend too much time thinking about what’s around the corner,” Gohil said to the large audience. “A lot of the time we sit around trying to think about what the future is going to look like and we think purple’s going to be a really hot colour and we take that and run off down this little rabbit’s warren.”
And, in the upheaval of the digital age, Gohil believed predicting future trends was nigh on impossible. It was only five years ago, he argued, that a family would gather around the TV to watch a show because they thought they might miss it. “That is no longer going to happen. Netflix has come along and changed all that. They’ve taken something like 20 per cent of the bandwidth in this country in about two weeks.”
He added: “But as much as things change they also devolve back into the old ways that we used to do things.” Digital, he said, was constantly throwing up the ‘next big thing’ but then it was constantly being usurped by something new and improved.
Arguably, it wasn’t about understanding technology but understanding the one constant in all of this – human beings.
“The thing that never changes in all this, the thing that is at the core of all this are humans,” Gohil said. “The stuff that we all look at and go ‘fuck I wish I did that’ all comes from a really simple human insight. So understanding humans is probably the best way you’ll understand the future.”
But herein lies the problem for agencies, Gohil argued. People are increasingly so time poor, they’re so bombarded with ad messages that “they’ll filter the stuff they don’t want out… we’re already very good at filtering it out.”
“Ask a room full of advertising people the last ad they saw and they can’t remember – which is kind of sad,” he added.
“The slightly unfortunate thing here is that no matter what agency you work at consumers are really good at running away from the stuff we create.
“And whether it’s a banner ad or a TV commercial or an ad in a magazine or outdoor, there are just so many commercial messages that people are now very good at running away from it. It’s the stuff we toil hard to come up with a great strategy for, come up with a billion point of views on, that we produce beautifully, and then the consumer goes, ‘Fuck this, I’m not interested, I’m going home to watch Netflix and watch what I want to watch when I want to.’”
Gohil conceded that engaging with people was going to become increasingly more difficult. And rather than being able to predict the future he said it would be up to agencies to “find those little nuggets that make people go, ‘Fuck, I never even thought about it like that.’”