Convo 120923

the conversation

Diageo and Dentsu Creative confirm that while talk is cheap, opportunity is abundant

There are definite positive vibes to be found as the newsletter returns after the summer break

By Jeremy Lee

Given the current reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete crisis affecting Britain’s crumbling schools, it’s possible that as many children returned to the classroom last week as people returned to their office following the long summer break. (Mind you, Zoom’s recent diktat that its staff should be back in the office at least two days a week is a powerful sign that flexible working policies are starting to become slightly less flexible.)

Nonetheless, the start of September obviously marks the start of a crucial sales period for advertisers and agencies (as well as the return of this newsletter) – so it’s time to face the front and pay attention.

First – the green shoots. Last week Campaign reported that the Stagwell-owned Forsman & Bodenfors is opening up shop in London, becoming the latest agency to have a crack at the UK market; Joan launched in June, New Zealand’s Special Group opened an outpost last April and Cannes’ Agency and Independent Network of the Year GUT has made no secret of its intention to also put its flag in the ground. Evidence, if it were needed, that the UK is a very attractive – and therefore competitive – advertising market, despite Warc claiming that UK ad spend this year will suffer a small decline in 2023 before bouncing back to 4.6 per cent growth in 2024.

Equally positive news came from Dentsu Creative’s 2023 Global CMO Report, Creativity At A Crossroads, which reaffirmed the commitment of senior marketers to the transformative power of creativity, with 85 per cent believing that it is a catalyst for economic growth. Moreover, amid the febrile and seemingly interminable ‘purpose’ debate, it was heartening to read that an even greater percentage – 88 per cent – agree that creative advertising has the power to change society for the better.

It was even better still to discover how Diageo is stepping up to the plate after hiring its first global sustainability marketing director, Deb Caldow, earlier this year. Already she has made considerable progress to meeting the commitments on Diageo’s sustainability agenda. She has managed this by organising the company’s 200 brands with priorities leaning towards specific elements of the sustainability programme, for example Guinness is focussed on regenerative farming, rather than trying to be seen to be doing everything while simultaneously doing very little at all.

This again chimes with Dentsu Creative’s CMO report, which recommends that brands identify and stick to symbolic sustainability actions that will result in systemic change. Caldow adds: “The real trick for brands and marketers is not to get overwhelmed with doing everything everywhere all at once. On top of sustainability challenges, throw in AI... I know we always say there's never been a harder time to be a marketer, but now there really has never been a harder time to be a marketer. So, the way we organise ourselves is through very progressive agendas set against those priorities and bringing the best of our creativity to find solutions.”

She concludes with an expression of frustration with agencies who “agitate” by taking a confrontational stance rather than helping brands make real change (the more difficult task).

With so many marketers committed to addressing the climate crisis (81 per cent say that they expect their business to pivot in response to it, according to Dentsu Creative) and more agencies setting up shop in an already over-heated market, the opportunities for those that turn words into (non-aerated) concrete actions couldn’t be clearer.


LinkedIn iconx

Your Privacy

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.