Monday, January 20, 2020

Dear agencies let's go digital!

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
The current crisis hitting the advertising market in Lebanon could - paradoxically - bring with it its own silver lining. All it takes is for agencies to be less stubborn and greedy. Yet asking that from such people who would rather cut their nose to spite their face, even when their own survival is at stake, seems to be nearly impossible. The blueprint I speak of is easy - instead of capitalizing on OOH (which is expensive and no longer effective as I argued here) or dying newspapers (as explained here) or magazines (rationale here) now is the time to go digital.
The problem? Digital brings much less money, does not offer the opportunity for kickbacks with production companies, goes against the logic of the large agencies as more nimble and agile ones are a better fit and - ooops - does not fit the calcified mentalities of dinosaurish ad people in Lebanon. As I said, they'd rather die than change models.
Sure I am a sucker for well-produced ads which cost an arm and a leg, but remember, most ads end up being seen on youtube! And today's phones have the capacities that old cinematographers only could dream of, without mentioning photoshop and all the programs which a single person can use to produce what before used to take a whole army to do (I go back to nimble agencies I spoke of).
It is in times of crisis like these that possible things can happen - new alternatives can be seen as viable. This is the jolt we all need in the industry in Lebanon right now - a new way to see things and implement them differently.
I truly believe we are now being handed the opportunity to focus on a new system, let us not waste it and hang on to the remnants of an old, archaic structure.