Clemenger chairman Robert Morgan says marketing can lead economy out of depression

Question Time mumbrella360The advertising industry is experiencing a lack of leadership and a lack of confidence and needs to better demonstrate “just how potent” advertising can be according to Clemenger Group executive chairman Robert Morgan.

Speaking at yesterday’s Mumbrella360 Question Time Morgan said: “I’m concerned that there is a lack of confidence not only in the economy, and the government and leadership is a big issue. I’m worried there’s a lack of confidence in the way we’re leading this industry.

“I don’t get the sense that we’re behaving in the way that we need to in terms of demonstrating just how potent what we do is and how the economic welfare of this country to a very large extent can be in our hands.

“I get the feeling there is a lack of belief, lack of confidence in our ability to do what we actually know we can do and that is grow businesses by advertising. If you get out there and you advertise you will grow things. What worries me is we’re not doing a good enough job telling our clients and in a sense ourselves just how good we can be.”

Morgan cited Deloitte research in the UK which suggested £1 of advertising results in £6 of economic activity.

“If you want to fix the economy it should be an advertising led recovery. If we got all our clients to spend money, they will sell more, the industry will kick this country along. You’re seeing it in the US. This country, we need some growth and I think advertising can lead it,” he said.

Starcom MediaVest Group chairman John Sintras was in agreement saying “most people are in the business of management not leadership and that’s a problem”.

“We’re all busy, but we’re not spending enough time thinking what’s the next thing. I don’t think Australia overall innovates enough,” he added.

On the leadership issue Mamamia cofounder Mia Freedman said there is not an industry organisation for online publishers.

“It’s everyone for themselves these days. I don’t see it as being a hugely relevant thing for us. We’re just fighting our own battles day-by-day,” she said.

Chairman of the Australian Marketing Institute Darren Woolley said marketing needs to be better represented in the executive level of companies to take a leadership role in them.

Asked what he thought was a standout campaign from the last 12 months Woolley said he could not recall one ad from the last year since he started to consume news on his mobile devices exclusively, and watches only downloaded TV so he can skip the ads, highlighting a major issue for the industry.

Morgan also admitted he would love to have channel planning capabilities back in the Clemenger agencies adding: “It’s a tragedy there’s a whole generation of creatives who’ve never been to a TV station.”

Miranda Ward


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