Reaction To Ritson Shows An Industry In Crisis: Robert Strohfeldt

Reaction To Ritson Shows An Industry In Crisis: Robert Strohfeldt
SHARE
THIS



If you have not seen, or at least heard about, Professor Mark Ritson’s presentation to the AANA then you must have been in a coma, says Strohfeldt Consulting founder and creative director, Robert Strohfeldt. But instead of joining the whingers, Strohfeldt says get off your high horses and help fix the situation.

The reactions have covered the spectrum from outraged self- righteousness to strong agreement, with the critics of Ritson receiving the most coverage.

And the questions he’s asking are not just being asked here in Australia.  The recent damming report in the US by the ANA on media transparency makes for interesting reading.

So what did he really say? Watch this:

No one can argue that Professor Ritson is not a highly entertaining and engrossing presenter. And his approach is anything but diplomatic.

But a closer inspection of the critics and their criticism, shows they are the ones with the most to lose from an evidence based assessment of social and online media effectiveness as advertising mediums.

The criticism of Ritson is a classic case of “shoot the messenger”. (Admittedly, a sarcastic one). You can read about the issues he addresses in not only industry, but more recently in the general business media, nearly every day.

Instead of acting offended and taking a “how dare you” approach, get off your high horses and do something to help fix the situation. I have been a part of this industry for over 30 years and never have I seen it so fragmented and suffering from such a lack of respect and trust.

Rather than work in the present, so much of the industry focus is on the future, trying to predict what the landscape will look like in five or 10 years. Development of strategies and executions for a hypothetical future, rather than the present, has been the result.

Google, Facebook and co. have been instrumental in creating and perpetuating the “tsunami of bullshit” that has washed over the industry.  They have seduced marketers with claims they are “the future of communications” using bullshit metrics to support their claims.  “Digital” is not confined to marketing and advertising.

Computers and the internet have dramatically changed the way we work and live. As a consequence, everyone wants “digital” – if you are not digital, you are a dinosaur. (The fact TV and radio are digital, print is read on tablets and outdoor signage is becoming predominately digital is over looked).

In addition, ad agencies have morphed into a series of mutually exclusive silos of “specialist services” staffed by people who want to be part of the future, which does not include “legacy media”.

The role of an ad agency has evolved since they first appeared. But if we want to maintain our relevance and standing in the business community, we should always provide advice (which can manifest in many ways, be it a media schedule, YouTube video, banner ad, a plain old TVC or a strategic plan) based on rigorously derived fact.

Let’s look at some of the key issues he raised:

  • Social media is “over rated” as a mass market medium

As he says, “it is social media”. It is about people, not brands. Brands, with all of their millions to spend on marketing and advertising, have only a fraction of followers that people do (be they music or sport stars, or just popular bloggers).

Yes, it does have its uses and a role to play in the mix. But that role is determined by the type of product or service for which it is being used; it is not a one size fits all.

Social media practitioners are blind to the realities of the limited commercial benefit of social media because don’t work on it; they live in it. Social media is a big part of their daily activity and as such find it difficult, if not impossible, to be objective about its efficacy. And of course, everyone is seduced by the huge numbers of social media users.

But there is a big difference between media viewing and advertising viewing.

Anthropomorphism has also become a major issue, with social media supporters treating brands as people. One of the major goals of his presentation was to get people to start asking questions about social media’s effectiveness as an advertising medium. And it is about time.

When two thirds of marketers are unsure of their ROI from social but intend to increase the spend, it is obvious that the right questions have not been asked.

  • He not only talks about a “tsunami of bullshit” in relation to online video, he clearly shows why

An online video view is any piece of video, with or without sound, that is seen for at least 3 seconds – conveniently the time that elapses before a person can skip an ad.  It is very funny, but obviously embarrassing to media people who have been promoting the “huge numbers” online video generates, versus TV.

That the industry has not picked up on this crazy metric and advised clients its meaning is useless and looked for a viable alternative that allow an “apples to apples” comparison to TV, is an indictment on the advertising industry as a whole.

Again, there are no tricks or the distorting of numbers. The distortion again comes from the people who stand to gain from advertising dollars flowing online.

  • There have been underhanded tactics being played out…

…in which some media agencies are booking and buying schedules which are financially beneficial to them as opposed to the clients’ best interests. Low margins have always plagued the media planning and buying business.  When digital came on the scene it was like mana from heaven.

Unlike the 10 per cent offered by traditional media, there were commissions and rebates at 20 and even 30 per cent. So of course there were unscrupulous people who promoted media solutions that provided them with a far greater pay off. Throw in the dodgy metrics used to support their claims and it is no wonder clients were misinformed.

When a business is remunerated by commissions, there will always be the potential for a conflict of interest.

  • The blind rush to online, at the expense of traditional media

The Magpie Generation, Ritson called them. I cannot name the person for obvious reasons, (he is well known as one of the country’s foremost media strategists), who recently said to me, “If I am given a brief and respond with a print solution as being the impactful and cost effective, I will be shown the door.

“The client wants a digital solution as they believe it is the future and they do not want to be seen by their peers as using old fashioned media. And why would I get the client offside when online pays me two to three times what traditional media does?”.

So it is not purely a case of media agencies pushing a solution that is financially better for them. They have the clients demanding a digital media/online solution, so of course they will go with what the client requests. When the media approach demanded by the client pays two to three times what may be the better alternative, why would you argue and risk the relationship?

So in Conclusion…

Just as trust is the major criteria for a successful brand, clients must be able to trust us to provide them the most effective communications solutions. Once trust is lost, it is almost impossible to get back.

But it is a two- way street. As client procurement departments have “hacked away” at agency fees for so long, it is little wonder that agencies need to find additional revenue sources. If clients want agency partners they can trust to best serve their interests, they can’t keep cutting the fees they pay.

It is a classic case of cause and effect. We can’t expect to change the effect, without first addressing the cause.

 

Latest News

Social Change Maker Profile: Anthony Xydis, ARN
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Social Change Maker Profile: Anthony Xydis, ARN

There's no denying ARN's Anthony Xydis is one of the industry's "nice guys", and that's despite B&T's fondness for evil.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]

Aristotle’s Relevance To Experiential Marketing
  • Opinion

Aristotle’s Relevance To Experiential Marketing

In this guest post, group account director at GPJ Australia, Dylan McLaughlin (pictured below), is summoning some of history’s greats in his take on the 2018 experiential marketer… Extraordinary ideas are rarely serendipitous or eureka moments. They are the culmination of shared thoughts and notions that have been twisted and turned, built on and built from. They are […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Samsung  Kicks Off First Campaign With Tim Cahill Via Leo Burnett
  • Campaigns

Samsung Kicks Off First Campaign With Tim Cahill Via Leo Burnett

Samsung Electronics Australia has kicked-off its partnership with Tim Cahill with the launch of TIMVITE. TIMVITE is an interactive digital campaign that encourages Aussies to invite their mates to watch this year’s biggest sporting events together. The activity supports Samsung’s QLED TV category, which includes a range of 75” and 85” large screen TVs, because […]

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  
  • Media

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  

Arq Group has launched a new identity created by award-winning agency Hulsbosch, with the business rebranding from Melbourne IT to Arq. Previously known as Melbourne IT, the company was founded in 1996 as one of Melbourne University’s commercial ventures with the sole rights to manage .au domains in the early days of the Internet. Melbourne IT […]

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD

ANZ, in partnership with PHD and Adshel, have taken to the streets with a total take-over of the entire Adshel Live network. For one hour, between 8am and 9am on Tuesday 19 June, ANZ is inviting commuters to download the new ANZ app by showing six different ways the app can help them manage their […]

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore

Bereft of any Monday motivation? Let today's Women in Media profile be like low-current electric waves to the brain.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%
  • Marketing

Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%

• Ad spend in Australia forecast to grow by 2.8% in 2018 , with main drivers of growth in Government, Retail, Finance and Gambling sectors. • Global advertising spend to grow by 3.9%, revised up from 3.6% in January 2018. • Digital to overtake TV for the first time, to reach 38.4% of global share (TV 35.5%). In 21 out of the 59 markets tracked, digital will be the leading advertising channel in 2018. • One quarter (25.2%) of global ad spend will be delivered through mobile devices for the first time.

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria
  • Media

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria

Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines has announced the appointment of Emma Baston as client strategy director for Victoria. Baston has worked in senior digital media buying and planning roles at various agencies including UM Australia, Cummins&Partners and MindShare, with exposure across the strategy, communications and creative process. She has also worked at Facebook in a […]

Seamless pattern of a crowd of many different people profile heads. Vector background.
  • Media

SBS Launches Diverse Communities Content Initiative

SBS has launched the Short-Form Content Initiative, a commitment to providing increased opportunities for Australian creatives from diverse communities through the commissioning and production of content for SBS On Demand. SBS has partnered with five of Australia’s screen agencies, including Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and South Australian Film Corporation. The initiative aims […]

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi
  • Campaigns

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi

BIG W, the home for families, fun and entertainment, has today launched its annual toy sale campaign – Toy Mania. Running until 11 July, the campaign showcases the frenzy and hysteria that comes with the BIG W toy sale. It also highlights that buying toys can be just as fun as playing with them and […]

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’
  • Technology

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’

Datorama, a global technology company, today announced the launch of Data Canvas, a suite of new data visualisation capabilities within its Marketing Intelligence platform. Datorama Data Canvas leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in a brand new way — to help marketers create expert-designed dashboards to tell compelling, data-driven stories. Datorama’s previous AI releases have […]

Who’s Looking The Goods At Cannes Lions 2018
  • Opinion

Who’s Looking The Goods At Cannes Lions 2018

In this opinion, Fjord lead Bronwyn van der Merwe (pictured below) discusses the work to look out for at Cannes Lions 2018. I fully expect there will be some staggering examples of creative brilliance at Cannes Lions this year, and I’d recommend anyone going resists having their attention pulled by projects that are largely based on […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
We Are Social Acquires Socialize
  • Media

We Are Social Acquires Socialize

We Are Social has acquired Socialize; however, it will not be renamed We Are Socialize or even Margaret for that matter.

Global Marketing Player adm Appoints Country Manager For Australia & NZ
  • Marketing

Global Marketing Player adm Appoints Country Manager For Australia & NZ

International marketing services business adm Group Ltd has appointed Matt Cave as its country lead for Australia and New Zealand. Cave (pictured above) has more than 25 years of industry experience in the Asia-Pacific region, and will be instrumental in driving adm’s expansion throughout Australia and New Zealand. With 26 offices in 19 countries around […]

Weploy CMO Ben Eatwell: “We Want To Help Businesses Challenge The Status Quo”
  • Media
  • Technology

Weploy CMO Ben Eatwell: “We Want To Help Businesses Challenge The Status Quo”

Weploy began with a shared realisation between two friends that recruiting quality staff had become too complicated and it was high-time so declutter the process. Based in Melbourne, the start-up combines Tinder-style online skills-matching with Australian job market, and in doing so, rids eager employers of the strenuous – and at times incredibly uncomfortable – […]

Nielsen Acquires Sydney-Based Media Analysis Business Landsberry & James
  • Marketing

Nielsen Acquires Sydney-Based Media Analysis Business Landsberry & James

Nielsen has announced it has acquired Landsberry & James (L&J), a leading media analysis and software company based in Sydney, Australia. L&J designs, develops and markets software across the entire media analytics, planning, buying and post analysis process for television, digital, radio, advertising expenditure and advertising creatives. Nielsen’s investment in L&J enables an unparalleled and powerful […]