Businesses Should Complement Each Other, Not Try To Replace One Another says Kelly Williams

We’re proud to have partnered with Advertising Week Europe from the beginning and have seen Matt, Kathleen and the team grow the event into something, as an industry, we can all be really proud of.

In 2013 we created the Spotlight Lecture, which gives the floor to people with strong opinions and a different point of view. Last year that person was Bob Hoffman (a.k.a. the Ad Contrarian) who delivered an inspiring lecture called ‘The Golden Age of Bullshit’. Intentionally provocative, Bob questioned what we thought we knew about the brave new world, urging us to have greater perspective and not get lost in ‘next big thing’ mentality.

Bob’s lecture resonated with a lot of us; his session was not only popular on the day, but has been viewed over 38 thousand times in the past year. It’s a response that underlines why ITV is so proud to be part of AWE again and makes me excited that we can move the debate forward this year.

My hope this year is that we might all continue to improve our sense of perspective, by seeing how our businesses can complement, rather than replace, each other. However, we’re an industry where the prevailing business behaviour is to tell people it’s either ‘this or that’ – it’s either TV or You Tube, ideas or data, mad men or maths men, programmatic or human. But the truth is – that’s not how a marketer should see the world.

We spend so much of our time telling ourselves that the world is fragmented, I wonder whether we realise it’s us who are fragmenting it!  The reality is that media might be getting more fragmented, and there are indeed evermore new platforms out there, but the customer isn’t fragmenting in the same way, and neither are brands. In advertising it’s not a ‘this OR that’ approach that maximises campaigns and builds brands, it’s a ‘this PLUS that’. Great ideas work harder when they are created with multi-platform execution in mind.

New platforms are launched every day, some will fail and some will thrive, but we serve our audiences and clients best when we understand what a platform brings to the table individually and how they can work together.

Our recent Primal Screen research highlights TV’s individual strength at bonding audiences emotionally, and forming strong relationships with brands. TV is where brands live and breathe, where they grow up and where they make an emotional connection with an audience that can last a lifetime. You can achieve a lot in the short term through targeting and tailoring products but if you’re not creating desire for your brand with the unique scale and effectiveness TV delivers, you won’t have customers to talk to in ten years time.

But TV is also the fuel that drives other media. It’s the start of a conversation, the creator of demand, the builder of brands. We recognise that what TV delivers on its own is only amplified through using other media. Adding social, digital, outdoor into the plan, takes that proven effectiveness of TV to the next level, turbo-charging your campaign and ultimately delivering even greater impact and reach.

I can guess what you might be thinking… “That’s just common sense”? Well, yes. But as someone said to me the other day, “The thing about common sense is… it’s not that common.”

So my hope is that we can use this week to come together as an industry to focus on the strength of advertising across the board, to celebrate the effectiveness of what we can do both individually and together, and see if, instead of prolonging the ‘Golden Age of Bullshit’ we can welcome a new ‘Golden Age of Common Sense.’