Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Digital Spain

Barcelona is hot, with Europe's major annual mobile phone conference, the 3GSM World Congress, going on this week in Spain’s second city. Yahoo!, for example, has announced, for example, that it’s signed up top corporate advertisers to use its advertising system to run brand ads on mobile phones in 18 countries. Lots of exhibitors, like AdMob, are pushing the mobile marketplace hard as the place to advertise. (AdMob’s website shows an instantaneous update of ‘Live Ad Requests,’ which is compelling.)

A correspondent of mine, Paul Ashby, has just returned from a holiday in Spain – in a more restful portion of the country – and sent these brief notes along:

The advertising/marketing scene in Spain is, not surprisingly, remarkably similar to that in the rest of Europe. Online is attracting increased spend and the Spanish advertisers believe that that is because the key features which they are beginning to find attractive are:

1. It shows what works and doesn’t.
2. Accountability has driven success, driving further investment.

In Spain, as elsewhere, what has emerged is a market polarisation. An increasing number of marketers are committing significant resources to making a success of online business, while a bigger number have done little or nothing.

As one Spanish ad man said to me, “They’ve spent the past 10 years doing what worked…and now it doesn’t!”

The work ethos is taking hold in Spain, best expressed in this little story told me by my Spanish advertising friend, “Sell your soul. Make full use of your spare time; if you already have a second job, take on a third!”

One interesting theory emerging from Madrid is that digital and paper will retain their distinctive strengths and may often be able to promote each other, in other words, during the course of this year print and pixels can enjoy a symbiotic, profitable existence. Spanish agencies seem to be panicking now, desperate to associate themselves with digital. “Putting it at the heart of the company” and even putting it in their job titles.

One of Dialogue International newer members, BelowGroup, is cool enough. It has offices in Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal. A look at its website will give you a visual hint (see its BeOn operation) about what’s happening with digital advertising on the Iberian Peninsula. I don’t know if any of the Below people are attending 3GSM this week…maybe they’ll send me an IM.

Paul Ashby, whose blog you can read here, has been pioneering interactive communication to the advertising and marketing community for 30 years. He intro’d the first regularly scheduled interactive game show sponsored by P&G, and has used interactive techniques in print, radio, TV, and direct mail. As a result, he’s built up a large body of experience and independent research that helps compare how effective interactive communication (properly executed) is to regular advertising. Thank you, Paul, for the contribution.

1 comment:

Gus Laurens said...

Richard: Thanks for the interesting article. It is nice to hearing from you.