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Advertising Politics Trevor Beattie

Politicians acting like marketers, London's creative output criticised: Editor's Overview


By Stephen Lepitak | -

May 22, 2017 | 5 min read

The Drum editor Stephen Lepitak offers his weekly take on some stories and events from the past week and highlights a few things ahead for The Drum.

Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak

What he said

BMB co-founder Trevor Beattie is no wallflower and his comments on his disappointment on the current creative levels coming out of the London ad scene are typical of the strong statements he is not shy about making from time to time.

Another esteemed ad man, Dave Buonaguidi, has also lamented the quality of work in recent times too – so when these guys both find themselves struggling to be positive about an industry they used to love, then something is definitely up.

Ironically, we have more awards to celebrate the industry than ever before. (Beattie was chairing the Roses Creative Awards when he made the comments, incidentally, and was firmly impressed with the work he saw produced outside of London) but the number of truly memorable ads (for the right reasons) being produced does seem to be dwindling. Perhaps this is because we have so much media now that it's all the more difficult for advertising to cut through – but then a brilliant creative idea and well-executed ad should do just that.

What Beattie's comment really made me wonder, however, is what happened to data driving more effective creative ideas? Haven't we been saying for more than a decade now that with the amount of data out there, campaigns should be all the more informed and effective? Is that proving to be the case? I'm not so sure.

Maybe data is an impediment that is restricting real bravery and challenging creative. Who knows, but creativity is a skill and a talent that needs to be nurtured and encouraged. Maybe London needs to do more of that.

Let the dreamers dream, people.

Politicians are acting like marketers

The Information Commissioner's Office announcing its intention to begin investigating how political parties are using social media to target voters confirmed a theory that I have long held – that politicians are having to learn marketing techniques to sell their own agendas.

They have been using Facebook and Twitter more and more, spending increasing amounts of money in order to directly reach the demographics who they have a chance of swaying at the ballot box. However they also need to understand the psychology of voters and how to reach them, which is why social media has become a must for Labour, especially in its bid to motivate a younger audience to vote.

Politicians also need access to data and have the same issues when it comes to the big data problem. I've yet to hear if any party has been using artificial intelligence to help with this issue, mind you.

I wonder if we'll see a politician move into the marketing field off the back of the skills and experiences they gain. That would be interesting to see.

Elsewhere at The Drum this week

Coming up this week we have The Drum Search Awards winners being announced on Thursday (you can find the nominations here), and our Performance Marketing Breakfast taking place at Hackney House on Wednesday, which is free to attend. You can find the details for the event, as well as where to register, in The Drum Diary.

Another event we have on the same day is a How to Win Awards session in New York, which I'll be hosting to explore the most effective methods that entrants should remember when going for glory.

Meanwhile, our monthly breakfast meet up at The Drum's offices take place on Thursday morning with anyone looking to attend asked to register here.

Our annual Independent Agency Census is also open to agencies without holding companies but will be closing for entrants soon. More details can be found here.

Have a great week everyone.

Advertising Politics Trevor Beattie

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