Mzamo Masito, Managing Executive: Brand & Comms Africa Group, Vodacom
What could/should advertising look like in 2020?
There is no future without the present and what we do now. In my culture my elders always remind me that no one lives in the future. The future is always in the Now. Instead of me trying to predict the future, let me talk about what advertising should be now and I believe those underlying principles will last the test of time. There are evergreen principles that govern advertising—everything else is cosmetic and an external treatment, but I have noticed that the underlying governing principles don’t change. What will change are the communication mediums we use to connect with the consumer from above the line, thru the line and below the line touch points. When a medium changes, it does not mean advertising principles and foundations have changed. When a new religion is formed or holy scriptures are revised, rarely do they change the universal governing principles: love, compassion, service, sacrifice, etc.
Now what are the governing laws and principles that I believe will last the test of time beyond 2020?
Advertising that works is people’s reality, creatively dramatized. Those who immerse themselves in the lives of the people they serve are likely to gain insights that can be translated into a big idea. People Love is at the heart of great advertising. We sell to people first who happen to be called consumers. The more genuinely connected we are to the people we serve, the greater the stories we are likely to tell about them. After all, is not advertising all about selling people back their values, dreams, aspirations, wishes and fears?
What should we do now to get ready for that future?
Immerse ourselves deeply in the lives of those we serve and always remember that the office desk is a dangerous place to view the world. A few minutes’ encounter with the consumer doesn’t yield genuine understanding of the people we serve. We need to go back to the basics and remember even digital needs a human touch for it to be soulful. Soulful advertising comes from those who interrogate their souls and that of the people they serve in order to be able to tell the truth in a way that affirms, alters, enhances people’s lives while making money or profit.