Ad Age Digital caught up with Mr. Good between flights to talk about what it means to be a global, interactive network.
Ad Age Digital: Which do you prefer to be called: a digital agency or an interactive agency?
Adam Good: I don't think there's any difference in my mind, but I probably prefer to be called interactive agency. ... Clients realize they can't have this interruption model any more; they can't just blurt out a message to a consumer. They've got to have some sort of involvement or dialogue or engagement, so being interactive is really what it's about. What we're trying to do is move more of our ideas and campaigns offline as well as online. We're known for doing great websites, great online advertising CD-ROM and so forth. Now we're starting to appear in outdoor media. This allows you to have a relationship with the consumer in all sorts of different places. If you're walking down the street and you walk past some sort of communication and it pulls you in, whether that's through sound or through video or through touch, then that's an interactive space.
Ad Age Digital: Has it always been Tribal DDB's objective to create this global network?
Mr. Good: It has been from day one. Certainly no client asked for it initially. When we were in the early days -- when we were still DDB Digital -- we were starting to feel that one day clients would want an interactive agency because our medium was a global medium. We felt that clients would want to have an agency that could have offices and people in various markets and work in that sort of way. Right now, there's no real client that's said, "OK, Tribal, this is our brand, we want you in every single market." But what we've got is a number of clients that we have in various markets: brands like Volkswagen, McDonald's and Phillips are key ones for us.
Ad Age Digital: Tribal Shanghai was just named interactive agency of record for McDonald's in mainland China. What type of work are you doing for them there?
Mr. Good: At this stage we're consolidating their website presence. Their corporate site has got various strategies for moms, for kids. ... McDonald's are very promotionally driven. The big difference in China is that it's all about discounts and getting people in the store. They've been in China for a number of years, but the offering hasn't been exactly understood by the Chinese consumer, so there's a bit of education to be done. It's all about getting people in-store, so it's not always a brand job. It's sometimes quite a lot of a direct-response job.
Ad Age Digital: What does the creation of your new position signify for the growth of Tribal?
Mr. Good: The term "president," we don't use this in Australia, so I'm getting a heck of a bagging about it. What it does mean is that Tribal has grown from an office-by-office structure, which has worked very well for the last eight years, but a lot of the offices are very large now, so there needed to be some regional coordination and our clients are asking for that sort of regional coordination. We are now starting to roll out campaigns that might be in four markets or 11 markets and if you don't have somebody that's really a champion of it or in charge of it from a regional point of view, then you are relying heavily on one local office not to let down another office.
Interactive has so many disciplines that are required, so you need to have everything from analytics right through to video -- there's so much you have to be able to provide for a client. The reality is that every office can't have all those resources. So we are developing centers of excellence and various offices will be skewed towards one discipline over another. We also have a lot of very talented people in the network with a lot of experience on certain brands or strategies. Now that we've got regional structure we can move them around a lot easier ... I think Tribal will grow even quicker with this regional structure.
Ad Age Digital: Where to next? Will we be seeing a Tribal Fiji office anytime soon?
Mr. Good: I'm actually thinking the head office should be in Bali ... The emerging markets are in Southeast Asia. The number of people there are phenomenal. We talk about China and India, but if you think about Vietnam, there's another 100 million people, and Malaysia is another 200 million people. These are huge, huge numbers as these markets continue to grow in terms of their disposable income, businesses want to be there. And then you will find that we will have offices there. ... If you look at a market like the Philippines -- there's a huge number of people who've got mobile phones. If you're talking to a client like Gatorade or Tropicana and then you talk to a telecom company, you can quickly have promotion-driven SMS campaigns or some sort of brand model pays mobile campaigns.