of the advertising industry, AdMakers CEO JP Fourie says: "Common sense is not so common anymore." Great advertising, he says, comes from people who are passionate about what they create. The problem with SA advertising, he says, is that real passion is in short supply. It is all about the money and the ego.
He is critical of the quest for creative glory where agencies produce ads that may be aired or printed only once, to qualify for creative shows like SA's own Loeries.
"It's a farce, and everyone knows it. Yet almost all in the industry seem to endorse this approach. Clients want the idea, creative' or not, to bring the intended message to their audience."
L-R: Johan Giliomee, Nadia Railoun, Mandy Crossley, JP Fourie - Clients want results
Chairman Duan Coetzee is surprised how often agencies and clients ignore "the basic four elements" of the marketing mix: product, price, distribution and communication. All four must be in place for success. If one isn't, the chances of success don't diminish by 25%, but 75% or more.
"AdMakers' passion lies with advertising as a business tool," he says. "I think we have achieved what an ad agency should be: a marketing and business consultancy, rather than a creative shop."
He points out that the dozens of awards AdMakers has won over the years were not primarily based on creativity. "I think we've become skilled at blending form with function. If you want an agency to make you a creative ad for the sake of a creative ad, go somewhere else."
How does this sit with the creative department? Studio head Mandy Crossley, who joined AdMakers over a decade ago (the core team have all been there longer than 10 years) says: "I've always seen design as a problem-solving thing; it's like visual mathematics. You must accept you're not doing fine art. Clients come to you when they have a product to move or a brand that they want consumers to be aware of. They rarely come to you because they enjoy your humour or your creativity because that's not going to pay their bills."