In the wake of the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Festival 2011, fellow judges Chris Thomas, chairman and CEO at BBDO Proximity Asia; Paul Heath, CEO at Ogilvy & Mather Asia-Pacific; Bob O'Leary, Citi head of global marketing; John Zeigler, chairman and CEO at DDB Asia-Pacific, Japan and India; and Michael Maedel, president for Asia-Pacific and Middle East at JWT, sat down with Campaign Asia-Pacific to discuss the importance of effectiveness, the role of creativity and whether agencies and brands are taking enough risks.
Speaking of the importance of effectiveness, Thomas said that in Asia, if you don't drive an effectiveness agenda, you don't drive a creative agenda.
"You have to provide the link between creativity and effectiveness, and we have to demonstrate that to our clients, otherwise ultimately we fail to deliver long terms sales success and therefore long terms relationships with our clients."
Thomas stresses the importance of a clear and measurable link between sales effect and the original objectives.
"Trying to take out the variables to try and identify the role that the communications has played in a sales effect," he added.
Asked whether he thought brands are taking enough risks, Heath said for a creative industry that is supposed to be at the vanguard of many things, "we are actually quite cowardly in general".
He goes on to say that there is a real opportunity for those that are brave to innovate and get ahead.
Speaking on the importance of driving an effectiveness agenda at Citi, O'Leary said it is critical to success. He said that the marketing budgets are based on the effectiveness of the campaigns that have come before.
"If we are not driving effectiveness in our work then the marketing investment changes year-over-year or from product to product." The various product groups are fighting for the same marketing budget.
"if you look at effectiveness combined with creativity, category growth and brand growth together are what every clients wants to achieve," said Zeigler.
He goes on to say that it appears that whenever agencies have a small budget, they do the most incredible work. "One of the challenges is how do you take that creativity when you dont have money and bring it to life in a much bigger dimension when you do have a big budget."
He hesitates to say that he reckons the reason is a default to TV advertising. "When you have a big budget, you tend to default. When you have a small budget, you tend to really creatively look at what is going to work."
Asked about the contribution of effectiveness to creativity, Maedel said, "Good creativity leads to results, I would never separate it. There can't be successful work if the creativity sucks."
He goes on to say he feels there is a greater focus on effectiveness in Asia compared to other parts of the world, referring to "more of a transactional approach" is this region.
"Unless it creates a return on investment, why should we put money behind it."