Flight Centre marketer: Relevancy will beat ‘smart arse creative’ every time

Keith Stanley speaking at this morning's Mumbrella’s Travel Marketing Summit

Keith Stanley speaking at this morning’s Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit

Senior Flight Centre marketer Keith Stanley has insisted the relevancy of advertising will beat “smart arse creative” every time as he outlined the retailer’s developing marketing strategy.

Speaking at Mumbrella’s Travel Marketing Summit in Sydney today, Stanley said Flight Centre was now far more involved in buying media alongside its agency new media agency Ikon.

He said those media companies who can demonstrate added value will get a greater chunk of Flight Centre’s advertising dollars.

Stanley described its direct negotiations with media bosses as a “dramatic change” and denied it has undermined Ikon.

“We have been meeting with the heads of media to say ‘look the world has changed’,” he said. “We are saying we have a rather large budget, we want to spend it, but we want you to show us what value we are getting from it. That is quite a big shift in our approach.”

Keith-Stanley-Flight-CentreStanley said Flight Centre will have a “base line commitment” to channels but will spend additional funds into media who can add value.

“They [media firms] are looking at how they can add value to our spend. We are looking at different ways of using that additional amount of money to focus on different segments and different things,” he said.

“We are talking regularly with the media, which we have never done before, with our agency Ikon.

“That’s quite a dramatic change to how we have done it in the past and what we have found is open arms from all media.

“Obviously they are looking to secure more funds for the future and we are looking at how we can make what we spend more effective.”

Stanley denied the strategy has undermined Ikon, describing the media agency, who won the media account from Carat in December, as a “partner”.

“What Ikon doesn’t know is the operational parts of the business that we could tap into that will be of benefit to a media agency,” he said.

“We are looking at how you partner with a company beyond a press ad or a TV placement because there are heaps of things.

“We are not looking to partner with everyone but with those who can add most value, which is broader than just the media purchase. We are asking ‘who wants to be better partners?”

Asked if there was too much focus on data in marketing, Stanley said it more important to be relevant than to produce creative work.

“Is there anyone in the room who is going to accuse Flight Centre’s advertising of being creative?” he joked.

“At  the end of the day if you get the right product and message to the right customer that will beat any smart arse creative any day of the week.

“If I am interested in going to Japan and you are communicating to me about Japan then that’s relevant.

“In the world today there is a plethora of information – too much – so relevance is becoming a lot more important to communications in marketing than ever before.”

Stanley later told Mumbrella: “Creative has a very important part to play but sometimes it is over emphasised.

“I am more a marathon runner than a sprinter, and a lot of creative has high speed for very short space of time. I prefer a marathon because that’s what business is.”

Steve Jones


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