We’re problem solvers, says top ad man

Ad makers were urged to abandon conventional labels and see themselves as problem solvers at the AANA & WFA Global Marketer Conference in Sydney on Wednesday.

Unilever’s Marc Mathieu urged delegates to stop labelling people as consumers and “think about human beings”.  Acer CMO Michael Berkin debunked the marketing goldmine that is the millennial generation, whilst calling for the term to be banished from the collective consciousness. “While they have greater spending power than any generation before them, “they’re not homogenous,” he said.

Michelle Froah, Asia-Pacific MD for hygiene giant Kimberly-Clark, says “there’s really no such thing as a global consumer” – showcasing the enormous growth of a Kotex product that highlighted the need to recognise consumers’ individuality.

The founder of consumer research innovation company BrainJuicer, John Kearon, brought the message that people don’t actually put as much thought into decisions as many may think – and marketers needed to keep emotion and intuition at the forefront of their campaigns.

Ed Sanders, director of marketing at Google Glass, extolled the importance of the “moonshot” concept – of putting creativity before comfort to achieve the breakthroughs that lead to radical solutions – while adidas Greater China’s Colin Currie revealed the true immensity of China’s rapid growth, with its consumer population gaining decades of sophistication in the past nine years.

One of advertising’s biggest and most enduring names, Sir John Hegarty, rounded out the day by asserting, “our industry isn’t a communications industry. It’s a problem solving industry” – and in fact, “it is a democratic right to take a new idea to the market and try to sell it.”

Only recently, Australia’s most powerful advertising buyer, GroupM chairman John Steedman, condemned negative attitudes that have emerged towards print, arguing it remains a strong avenue for advertising.  Read more here.

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