An Ad Age Original VIDEO NEWS Feature


Saatchi & Saatchi CEO as New Age Guru

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NEW YORK ( -- According to Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts, the advertising business has become a place where "there are no rules, there are no formulae, there is no best practice" and nobody has a clue about how to effectively market products to the masses.
Saatchi & Saatchi CEO was a keynote speaker at Ad:Tech. See six minutes of his performance.

In an Ad:Tech keynote speech heavily laced with buzzwords, Mr. Roberts suggested that the reality of the new age of marketing all boils down to the word he has used for the title of his new book: "sisomo." Reading from a script to an audience at the New York Hilton, he explained that "sisomo" refers to the combination of sight, sound and motion as experienced on digital screens. He handed out copies of his 171-page paperback to all who entered the hall.

Published by PowerHouse Books of New York, the tome was heavy with full-page photos and sprawls of colorful graphics yet light on text. But perhaps that illustrates Mr. Roberts' point.

"The future belongs to those who can make emotional connections in the market," Mr. Roberts said. "What all of us have to do is to realize that we are in the game now of creating loyalty beyond price, beyond attribute, beyond benefit, beyond product, beyond form, beyond process, beyond technology."

Studied casualness
A vision in studied casualness, Mr. Roberts, wearing a black button-down shirt and jeans, lectured the audience about attempting to apply traditional advertising truisms to new media. He illustrated his talk with TV ads beamed on a huge screen and the volume turned all the way up. Little, if any, online work was shown.

Those truisms, he said, include a good story well told, emotion, humor and music -- in other words, sisomo. The idea is that "you’ve got to be entertained as well as informed,” he said, “thinking with the heart and feeling with the brain.”

Communications spending
"Next year communications spending [in the marketing industry] will go past a trillion dollars," he said. "We'll spend a trillion bucks on communications in all its forms. Most of that trillion is money down the toilet that's completely wasted because it based on rational, reasoned information that consumers are just letting it go wang! wang! wang! right past them. They don't care.

"The winners in the attraction economy will be those who get to that emotional future first and fast," he said.

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