Marcel Fenez, the Asia Pacific leader of PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) entertainment and media practice, is a familiar figure at seminars on media and entertainment. His short presentation on people’s changing preferences at Ficci-Frames 2007, the recently concluded annual seminar targeted at the entertainment and media industry, brought home a stark reality for the industry: it was dealing with people enabled by all kinds of technology. Mint’s Rahul Bhatia caught up with him to discuss this phenomenon.
During your presentation, you said we would witness the rise of lifestyle advertising. Is that really something new? We’ve seen it with Nike, for instance, some time back.
I think we’ve seen some good examples of it. But we haven’t seen it take over in the way we’re envisaging it will. I think that in the next two-three years in particular, as people realize more of what lifestyle media is really all about, the concepts of lifestyle advertising will change. At the moment, advertising is all about mass media, mass whatever. Lifestyle advertising is all about the personal preferences of the consumer. The challenge for advertisers is about moving from mass message to a personalized one.
You also mentioned that companies had to gain consumers’ trust. How can that be done at a time when people are becoming increasingly sceptical?
Again, you’re talking about a much more personal relationship between the advertiser and the consumer. We did research with focus groups, and one of the things we found is that there’s a generation of people who are happy to share information about themselves, whether it’s on blogs or anything else.
The second thing is, they’re also very happy to receive advertisements that are relevant to them. So, they do not push away advertisements. So, if one talks about building trust, it’s around that. If you don’t want advertisements, fine, I won’t give them to you. It’s very sophisticated for the advertiser. Clearly ad agencies are going to have to react to that shift. They can no longer do the simple stuff.
Isn’t there a danger that with all these converging platforms, advertising will be inescapable and therefore a little too much, even if it’s relevant? These days you’ve got screens out on the streets, in cafes, in theatres, in malls.
The examples you used are all mass. Relevance is about individual taste and location. If you’re wandering around Paris and want to get to a restaurant, there are ways you’ll be able to get that information, and I’ll be able to advertise there. Relevance isn’t surround advertising. What I described is fairly sophisticated.