Staff Reporters
Jun 23, 2016

Industry needs to 'cut the crap': The Economist at Cannes

Antiquated agency models take a beating from marketers on Economist-hosted panel.

CANNES - The Economists' second panel session, which took place on Tuesday, featured Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand building officer, P&G; Brad Jakeman, president global beverage group, PepsiCo; and Lori Lee, senior EVP and global marketing officer of AT&T Inc.

Moderated by Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor at The Economist, the second panel session featured thought provoking and at times controversial conversation from Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand building officer, P&G; Brad Jakeman, president global beverage group, PepsiCo; and Lori Lee, senior EVP and global marketing officer of AT&T Inc.

“We've got to cut the crap and elevate the craft. Just because you ‘can’ doesn't mean you ‘should’,” said Pritchard. “There is also too much crap in content right now.”

Echoing this sentiment, when it comes to modern day creative hurdles such as ad blocking, Jakeman passionately argued that the advertising industry has only itself to blame.

“Ad blocking is something we all have created,” said Jakeman. “The whole industry has been lazy and produced crap content for years. How can we be shocked that people want to block it? We have to change the way we create content and add value to people's lives in someway.”

To address this challenge head on, PepsiCo now produces much of its preferred real time content in-house because traditional agencies won’t, or haven’t been able to, step up to the challenge.

“I don't wake up every day wanting to disrupt the agency business. But I've been asking the industry for years to evolve their model and they haven't, so we've done it ourselves,” said Jakeman. “I still value our agencies, however the old adage that ‘you can have it fast, have it cheap, and have it good but not all three’ is no longer true. I do want all three and I have done it myself.”

Turning to data and the panellists all agreed that the marketing industry in general must leverage new measurement breakthroughs, but at the same time strive to find methods to measure return on investment.

A chief concern for Jakeman is that despite an increasingly sophisticated consumer, the industry is still using a an archaic methodology that hasn’t changed in 40 years.

Lee, a relative newcomer to the world of marketing, agreed. “I come from finance and operations, so I was surprised by how behind marketing practices are for measurement. They need to change,” said. Lee. 

The final part of the discussion focused on the modern day role of advertising, with Jakeman staking his view that the role of advertising should not necessarily be to sell.

“I don't agree that advertising has to sell. Advertising has to make things more saleable,” said Mr. Jakeman.

And when it comes to more meaningfully engaging consumers, both Jakeman and Prichard are in alignment that advertising is going back to its origins of ‘soap opera’ brand sponsorship, in turn enjoying the credit of bringing entertainment to the consumer.

“We reach a lot more people when we put our brand on something they actually want to watch,” said Prichard. “At the end of the day we are going back to fundamentals.”

Key insights:

  • Industry must ‘cut the crap’
  • Agencies need to evolve or die
  • Our model for data is out of date
  • False: Advertising has to sell

Content for this article was provided by The Economist

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