Page 27 - AdNews Magazine Jan-Feb 2021
P. 27

                 A renaissance for Australian advertising
2020 was the toughest year with the advertising industry, already dealing with slower growth, hit hard by record low ad spend. But the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic could create the right conditions for a surge in creativity, and some are already seeing the boom.
progress. So it’s great to see cre- ativity and technology canoo- dling again. Now everyone just needs to find their Medici [the Italian banking family, political dynasty and patron of the arts].”
WhiteGrey Australia CEO Lee Simpson recognises the condi- tions of the pandemic have been “traumatic” for many. From eco- nomic hardship, lives lost and anxiety around wellbeing. However, Simpson argues this hardship is likely to be what causes a surge in creativity because creativity thrives in chal- lenging times.
“One thing I always think about is that creativity loves challenges and constraints and, bizarrely, particularly commercial creativ- ity,” Simpson tells AdNews.
“If you think about all the world's challenges, creativity has always risen to the biggest chal- lenges, I would say. From a busi- ness point of view, creativity has solved some of the biggest busi- ness problems, but also think about it from a societal point of view. For example, we use crea- tivity to help solve domestic vio- lence and obesity.
“Creativity has always loved a challenge and we're obviously in a challenging time. So it rises to those challenges well.”
Simpson highlights that creativ- ity in the advertising industry has always worked within constraints, usually applied by clients.
“There's constraints of the brief, timing, politics or budgets. And so, it often operates in those constraints and does well in that situation.
“You look at that and the envi- ronment we’re coming out of now — that’s why it’s managed to work well in those tight spaces.
“WhiteGrey has actually built our positioning around that; we talk about how in life, business and creativity, good things come from the right side of tension.”
Marcus Tesoriero, BWM Dentsu Sydney executive creative director, says he has also seen
Additionally, big brands are giving more of Australia their attention for local campaigns. For example, Coca-Cola’s new regional campaign celebrates the uniqueness of places such as Bunbury, Port Macquarie and Batemans Bay.
The local projects from Hollywood celebrities, and big campaigns in regions quiet for months due to the bushfires and then the COVID-19 pandemic, are a sign of the vibrancy coming back after months of lockdowns, anxiety, and caution.
Economic experts and business leaders around the world have predicted an economic boom to come after the pandemic, expedited by the rollout of vaccines.
Ad spend, which is tied to consumer and business confidence, began to pick up late last year after falling a record 40.4 per cent to $345.6 million in May, according to the Standard Media Index (SMI). In October, ad spend was down 24.3 per cent and Australia was declared to have passed the worst of the pandemic fallout. Then in November, Australia saw its first growth in ad spend in 26 months, up 8.3 per cent year-on-year, driven by strong TV and digital demand.
But the 2021 boom won’t be a regular one.
In Australia, Deloitte Digital’s chief creative officer and partner Matt Lawson is hoping the economic uplift and surge in creativity will lead to an Australian “re-Renaissance”, which will sweep up the advertising sector with it.
“The Black Death directly led to the Renaissance. So right now, I’m really hoping for a re-Renaissance,” Lawson tells AdNews.
“And many of the factors that made Renaissance 1 so great do seem to be coalescing again.
“Artists and engineers working closely together, and in some cases, becoming one, did seem to have been a powerful propellant for
 s soon as Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg
landed in Australia late last year, a buzz
ensued in the gossip papers speculating why he
was here. They reported the reason The Departed
star was here — fast-tracked to two-weeks quarantine in Byron Bay — was to film a global campaign for betting company Ladbrokes. Wahlberg was just one of a string of US celebrities Down Under, including fellow US star Natalie Portman who was reportedly shooting her latest campaign for Dior in Potts Point’s Manor apartments during her time here.
Engine Group’s “David and the Shrimp”. | January/February2021 27

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