Interview Transcript

How exactly are customers evolving, as ad dollars are shifting digitally?

Covid-19 has just accelerated the transformation. You see it at the consumer level, whether it be online shopping, education, healthcare, financial services and games and entertainment. You see it in media and the further demise of the traditional newsprint distribution of magazines and newspapers and the demise of traditional outdoor rather than digital. The rise of the streamers, free-to-air TV being under pressure. Then thirdly, enterprise transformation is being driven forward at a more spectacular rate. Change agents become even more and more important and we see them being given much more oxygen, within companies.

I think we’ve really seen a tremendous acceleration in the interest and, more importantly, the commitment. There has always been interest in digital transformation, but there’s been lack of commitment because people have said, why do we have to do that; we’re doing okay. Before Covid, GDP was up 2%, 3%, 4%, you grew top-line. If you’re talking 3% or 4% growth, that’s GDP and there’s nothing spectacular or difficult about that, at least in theory, although executing to even that for the traditional agencies is going to be difficult.

But you talk about 3% or 4% growth, you cut your costs and you buy back stock, so you increase your EPS by zero to five and 5% to 10%. The average life of a CEO is about five years, of an uncontrolled listed company, so that was a good legacy to leave.

What exactly are customers insourcing, between the creative and media buying side?

They’re looking at everything. If you look at the stats, with WFA, or whoever it is, it is about half to three-quarters of clients that are looking at in-housing. Because of digital’s 24/7 and always-on nature, that means that the traditional structure, the Marion Harper model if you like, the market share model, is no longer fit for purpose because it relies on a static model. You brief the agency, the agency comes back, you re-brief the agency, you go out and film. We have a studio where, if you want to produce a commercial, we can film anywhere in the world; we can instantly do it with the Epic Games, Unreal Engine technology. We have a huge advantage, nowadays, to produce things at warp speed, which are fit for purpose, in a market which is 24/7.

It is like running an election campaign without an election date. You have your competitors sending messages and, more importantly, consumer preferences, changing and developing and maturing, all the time. So you have to respond, at warp speed, in a nanosecond. Producing a commercial, in two months, just doesn’t make any sense. We can do high-quality stuff, quickly and effectively.

Is this only for digital?

Sign up to test our content quality with a free sample of 50+ interviews