Cheap is chic, Desmond tells Lynx delegates

March 16, 2009

Cheap is the new chic, said the global CEO of Starcom Mediavest Group as she unveiled the results of an international survey into consumer habits.

Laura Desmond, speaking at the Dubai Lynx festival about the urgent need for agencies to adapt to the changing commercial landscape, said the Intentrack survey had identified a worldwide demand among consumers for discounts, promotions and extra-value offers. In Poland, for example, there was recently a 180 per cent rise in redemptions on beer vouchers.

A similar behavioural study focusing on the Middle East and North Africa has been commissioned and early signs are that the region is mirroring this global trend of prioritising price over quality.

“Our role will be vital in building, rebuilding and reinforcing product reputations,” Desmond told delegates. “These trends will definitely shape the new marketplace we have to face.”

The challenge for agencies, she said, was to create and leverage human experience, be innovative and assimilate digital offerings into networks rather than treating them as separate divisions. Digital is estimated to contribute around 20 per cent to agency revenues at present but she expects this to grow to 35, and even 50  per cent in some sectors involving technology and youth. In emerging markets such as the Middle East, the growth of digital will be accelerated, she predicted.

For agencies, the pace of change is so fast that revolution, rather than evolution, is required, said Desmond. But how many agencies in the Middle East are ready for revolution?


Oh, and JWT’s Ramsey Naja’s predictions too…

March 16, 2009

ramseynaja1Here are my predictions for Dubai Lynx: empty poster sites in Dubai airport will be hastily filled to give an impression that all’s well around here; two agencies will kick-start the annual rant over ghost entries; that number will multiply as others realise that their own ghost entries didn’t make it past the first hurdle; many people will be congratulated for their winning ads by their competitors; same competitors will meanwhile lodge complaints against the same winning ads, but under the cover of anon; and the usual angst over whether awards are a good or bad thing will make its way to centre stage, pushed along by those who didn’t realise that however much you spend on entries, nothing beats a good idea. Oh, and FP7 Doha will be agency of the year.

Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer, JWT MENA – see Ramsey’s full opinion in the latest issue of Campaign

Lynx predictions…

March 16, 2009


Making predictions may be a fool’s game, but that never stopped anybody, least of all me. So, for what it’s worth, here are my favourites – and tipped gold winners * – following the release of the print, outdoor, direct & sales promotion, and media shortlists.

TBWA\Raad’s ‘Brawl’ for client Pattex Wood Glue. All three executions, including a shootout with US cops, are superbly art directed and I’ll eat my hat if it doesn’t pick up gold **. FP7 Doha’s ‘Students’ for Samsung made me laugh, so deserves gold just for that. Tonic’s Burger King work is also humorous, although quite how Friday the 13th’s Jason can eat a Whopper with that ski mask on is a question worth asking.


In the direct & sales promotion category, TBWA\Raad Saudi Arabia’s miniature magazines for rats had me in stitches – Rat’s Health and Hole Décor anyone? – and, as such, may well see Saudi Arabia win its first big gong at the Lynx. In the outdoor category, JWT Dubai’s Everlast actually looks like an outdoor execution, as does FP7 Doha’s ‘Colours’ for Perfetti Van Melle, so top marks for that. Meanwhile, in the media category Leo Burnett Beirut’s ‘Khede Khasra’ deserves nothing less than the grand prix.

* I have been known to be spectacularly wrong
** It’s a chocolate hat