Speed Essential in Tech-Driven World

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. With the emergence of new technologies, the advertising industry has to diversify the ways it delivers client messages while responding to changes faster than ever before, said Ken Kaess in his farewell address as chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies for the past two years.

The 4A’s Management Conference, in its 86th year, is being held at the Ritz Carlton here.

“We live in a time where change is so fast that we begin to see the present only when it is already fading from view,” said Kaess, worldwide chief executive of Omnicom Group’s DDB Worldwide.

He cited three key issues facing the industry and several ways agencies need to change in order to respond effectively.

The industry has an increasing need to quantify its value not only to clients, but also to consumers; it needs to emphasize its accomplishments as an industry; and it needs to diversify its talent pool, Kaess said.

As part of an effort to quantify the industry’s value, the 4A’s commissioned a series of third-party studies that showed advertising’s positive impact during a recession and afterwards if client spending is maintained; demonstrated advertising impact on a company’s stock performance; and one that developed a model to better measure the emotional response to advertising. (He pointed out that the industry will showcase its accomplishments and contributions during the first-ever Advertising Week, scheduled for Sept. 20-24 in New York, he said. The “Advertising Is Open for Business” program will include efforts to attract a diverse talent pool during Advertising Week in which thousands of New York City high school students will be invited to attend open house sessions at agencies.)

In concluding, Kaess said, “We are a great industry, full of nice, smart, talented people who are trying in every way to serve their clients and help them build their brands. We do a lot of good for all kinds of causes and have for a long time.”

His speech followed opening remarks by O. Burtch Drake, president and CEO of the 4As who declared that “business is better” this year in the ad industry.
Even the 350 people in attendance, the largest turnout since 1990, Drake said, “is proof positive that the ad climate has taken a turn for the better.”

The incoming 4As chairman, Ron Berger, CEO and chief creative officer of Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners in New York, will speak on Friday, the last day of the conference.