Ogilvy South Africa

#BizTrends2018: The transformation of the advertising space


Globally across most industries, the rise of automation and the concurrent call for efficiencies in increasingly competitive markets has resulted in pressures on teams and company structures: “Never before have so many companies tried to employ less people”.

There is concurrently so much change taking place in advertising, that it’s creating newer demands and skills changes from employees. So as we start 2018 I’m sure we’re all questioning who is actually currently fit for ‘Modern Marketing’, both on client and agency side.

Both of these realities are putting extra pressure on our teams to shift, learn and reshape.

Training and transformation skills

It’s for this reason that as an agency, we’re spending an increasing amount of time engaged and investing in the training and transformation space.

At a time of such exponential change in our industry, we need to help our teams and clients through this time of change. Access to new skills is an important tool to move businesses and people forward.

Personal touch

Brands need to truly connect with consumers. It’s more important for consumers to see what brands are doing. There is a huge shift in how brand sentiment is propelled from a few years ago.

With the rise of personal technology, consumers are also wanting and expecting personal attention from brands. Personal messaging, deals, information, support, access to and even products:
•    Brands will succeed with interlinked storytelling, as opposed to singular media executions.
•    Brands will succeed with stories that unfold and can be explored and shared.
•    Brands are succeeding by giving value beyond a marketing message – usefulness.

Transmedia content

There are huge leaps forward in our ability to deliver personal messages to a mass audience – using media, platforms and data. The historical aim to create singular epic pieces of content has thankfully moved into the past. Individually sliced and targeted/relevant engagement is proving to be far more powerful.

As an interesting side effect, it’s increasingly difficult to see what a competing brand is actually communicating to and with its audience.


Digital is increasingly difficult to talk about in isolation.

It’s such a layered and pervasive conversation now. It’s like oxygen, it’s what we breathe every day and in every marketing opportunity that we approach. Surely it must be a part of what we do and not, in any way, apart from it. (Hopefully this will be the last article I write that requires a ‘digital’ heading!)

2018 will see digital channels becoming richer and richer – with the successful rise of video viewing to date and the general decrease in data costs.

Beyond digital

Consumers don’t see advertising in silos and we need to constantly restructure ourselves and our client relationships to this shifting reality. Transmedia content is certainly increasingly the type of creative content which consumers are opting to consume and then choosing to pass on to others.

Remembering that it’s not just in a digital context of ‘passing on’, but in the good old fashioned real world too!

Data everything

Data is finally starting to be used properly by brands. For so long data was extracted but not linked to insights or used to remarket and retarget. This has been frustrating for consumers who have given brands their information, but get no more value in return. Those brands that continue to not deliver value in exchange for data will most certainly see weakening of sentiment, sales and loyalty from those consumers.


It has never been more important for media and creative to work together in order to deliver all of the above. I believe the split of media from creative agencies many years ago has weakened our ability to deliver. Media and creative agency collaboration is a ‘must have’ to succeed in 2018.

How else can we create brand experiences that are weaved across the full spectrum of media, and navigate the reality of how the modern consumer interacts with brands and technology on a daily basis?

This year will hopefully see closer collaborations and agreements between agencies, to make work that has more impact and relevance for the consumer.


There has indeed, never been a more complex marketplace for agencies and brands to deliver in. With the growing number of media platforms and technology landscape, consumers simply have more choice. They may be easier to target – but are more difficult to keep and nurture, when one considers an economy where budgets have shrunk.

So in 2018, while we keep our clients’ brands relevant in this fast changing world, our biggest focus areas will be:
•    To help simplify the process for clients and make sense of all the noise.
•    To nurture ‘future shaped’ talent.
•    To keep an investment and focus on agency culture inside an ‘age of procurement’.
•    To deliver highly potent and engaging creative, within faster timelines and often in real time: “At the speed of culture”.