ADVERTISING, as with every form of media, is in a revolutionary stage where the ability to respond to real-time data is critical to how a company can continue growing its business, according to global advertising powerhouse, M&C Saatchi.
"Social media doesn't help you very much but it can destroy you very quickly. People use social media to seek the truth and bring testimony to what a company claims it delivers and what it really delivers. If you lie, you'll die. So how you respond and advertise real time is key to your campaign's success," said Chris Jaques, chief executive officer of M&C Saatchi Asia.
"When we launched in Malaysia, Facebook did not exist, so what will happen in another 10 years is difficult to anticipate. Whatever it is, it is up to us to diligently overcome," he said, noting that Malaysia is now the third biggest market for the group in terms of profit at a billing size of about RM170 million year-on-year.
"In Malaysia, the mobile is a great transforming force. Mobile consumption is growing rapidly and I feel that within the next three years, mobile will be the driving force."
"We know what we're playing with and we will change and adapt," he said by way of underlining the agency's tenacity in overcoming challenges.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the agency in Malaysia. Being the third biggest market after the United Kingdom and Australia, M&C Saatchi group chief executive David Kershaw sees growing potential for the company in the future.
"Chris touched on the changing landscape of mobile usage and advertising in Malaysia. That is something we definitely will meet headfirst and capitalise on but moving forward, we are also looking to tap into marketing and public relations," he said.
"We struck gold when we landed Celcom Axiata eight years ago and we're looking to add more companies and government-linked companies to our creative portfolio."
"Advertising differs by region and country but what's constant is that we must always tap into the cultural sensitivities and norm of that particular country to completely drive a point home. There are some markets where an image of shock could work but there are some that won't, so before we could advertise or campaign anywhere, we strategise and understand the cultural norm," said Kershaw.
"In Malaysia, there are all kinds of sensitivities - cultural, religious, racial and stringent regulations. This does hinder the creative process but it doesn't halt it. Many a time, thinking in the box had helped us break out of the box to come up with a revolutionary campaign," said Datin Sharifah Menyalara Hussein, managing director of M&C Saatchi Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Sinclair, M&C Saatchi Worldwide chairman said: "Asia is as creatively developed as the West but culturally, I see that change is dramatically ongoing and Malaysia is on the right path. In my view, no matter what campaign we run or how clever it is, it will have no value unless we tap into the cultural consciousness of the people. So half our job is to understand the consumer culture and that we don't do is to apply our Western mentality on to other markets because that won't be as successful."
"Our motto has always been brutal simplicity of thought. If you can't get a point across, it simply means you're confused. The key to a good advertising campaign is to tap into the existing culture of a region and building on what already exists," he added.
Jaques, Kershaw, Sinclair and Kate Bristow, chief strategy officer of M&C Saatchi Los Angeles, were all present in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate Malaysia office's 10th anniversary yesterday.