the conversation

Ill winds blow no good

A review of last week's Creative Salon features

By jeremy lee

As Britain's infrastructure buckled under the hottest day on record, causing roads to melt and compost heaps to spontaneously combust, the nation's workers (well, those who were able to) largely followed official advice, drew their curtains and reached for a damp flannel to try and keep cool.

The effect of the hot weather was disruptive (and sadly destructive) but one happy consequence of the enforced WFH directive of previous years was that many people were geared up and equipped to carry on their labours at home. Nonetheless it was exhausting - and worrying.

Against this background, the concept of TV advertising fatigue might seem a relatively minor one. But when the clouds finally gathered, a few delicious globules of rain began to fall and doomsday had passed (for now), minds could turn to more prosaic matters such as Ofcom's decision to consider increasing the length and frequency of ad breaks for the terrestrial channels.

With US streaming services having also been a beneficiary of enforced home working (although Netflix's most recent result shows it is on the wane), the idea was to see if a fairer system for broadcasters could be introduced. It's not without its critics, however, not least because of the implications for viewer weariness and advertising effectiveness, as one of our pieces this week discovers. Find out what Total Media's Liz Duff, Saatchi & Saatchi's Richard Huntington, Walk-In Media's Simon Davis and Grey London's Raquel Chicourel think of Ofcom's plans.

Elsewhere, it was interesting to have a look at the progress of an independent agency that was conceived by Gareth Mercer on the kitchen table of his mum's Leicestershire house. It has subsequently risen from nowhere to become one of the most successful start-ups of recent years, winning sizeable pitches against larger competitors, and is beginning to make a big creative impact. Check out Sonoo Singh's interview with Gareth, Mark Sng, Harriet Knight and Dan Watts on how the agency is bagging big brand attention by attempting to use that most delightful of techniques - surprise.

And finally, this week's IPA Bellwether was a mixed bag with Q2 marketing budgets increasing, on the one hand, yet future marketing and financial prospects declining, on the other. What does this all mean for agencies and clients trying to plan their way into next year? We spoke to some to find out how the strong economic headwinds are influencing their thinking.

Is it all doom and gloom? Not necessarily. Agencies and clients must adapt, as the best ones always have. Moreover, as Goodstuff's Sam Drake points out, this current instability won't last forever. And, if we learned anything from the recent heatwave, it's that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.


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