Thomas Hong-Tack Kim – My View of the Future

Thomas Hong-Tack Kim, Executive Creative Director, Cheil Worldwide Korea

1. What could/should “advertising” look like in 2020

In 2020, advertisement will be determined mostly by digital technology. Digital technology will influence crucially communication devices such as cellphones or tablet PCs, and the media environment such as social media, and therefore will take control of the environment of the overall advertising communication.

Based on this fact, 3 big changes can be predicted. First, mobile devices will be used as the main communication tool. There are already prospects that people using internet via mobile device will outnumber those using it via desktop computers by the year 2014. In other words, advertising ideas adjusted to the mobile environment will be the main stream.

Secondly, the two key factors provided by social media, sharing and viral, will be activated even more. It cannot be known how long media such as facebook or twitter will last, or whether a new social media will rise, but it is sure that advertisements will continue to focus on strategies that take advantage of ‘sharing‘ and ‘spreading’ brought by these social media.

Thirdly, the holistic approach frame; engaging consumers to experience the brand, which leads them to actively spread the value of the brand themselves, will take place more firmly. The one-way communication used by traditional media will be discarded, and eventually, the paradigm of advertisement will shift from ‘what to say’ to ‘what to do with them’.

2. What do we need to do now for this future?

First of all, we must stop trying to solve every marketing problem through TV which is a traditional media. People do not listen to the messages on TV ads anymore. It has been proved through research that 78% of the consumers buy products on the recommendation of reliable acquaintances, not advertisements. Also, 70% of information is being controlled and communicated by consumers themselves. This means they are not drawn to consumption by unilateral messages anymore.

It is now important to think what kind of media mix will effectively communicate the one big idea, and to concentrate the competency on how to efficiently use the algorithm of sharing and spreading. Therefore, creators must stop concentrating on the creative output as in traditional media; of how to communicate the concept through what kind of visual and copy, but more focus on what kind of creative solution they can provide through digital technology and social media.

For this to happen, creative directors must be renewed as creative technologists, and the original pair system consists of a copywriter and an art director must also be switched to everyone being a storyteller, media creator, and a curator all at once. Also, the system must allow specialists and professionals from various fields other than advertisement to collaborate and solve the problems together.

Lastly, campaigns where the product itself becomes the media and the origin of creativity, such as the Nike Fuel Band, is increasing more and more. Therefore, advertising companies must discard the method of simply communicating commercial messages, but start to research and develop products or service itself, along with the client.