Ireland’s relative investment in ad-spend lags behind the country’s economic performance and is having a structural impact on the indigenous media sector, according to Peter McPartlin, a veteran of the Irish ad business, at a special meeting of the Advertisers Association of Ireland today.
Speaking on the theme of “Advertisers, Agencies, The Media & The Audience – where did it all go wrong & what can we do about it?” McPartlin said that the disinvestment in advertising by marketers is fundamentally undermining the ability of agencies and indigenous media to invest in people, products, innovation and creativity.
Using a combination of data on adspend and economic data, McPartlin showed that Irish media investment as a percentage of GDP has declined from 0.49% ten years ago to 0.32% today – around 40 percent less than the EU average. Total adspend across all media rose by just 6% in the last decade and around half the money is now going to the various digital platforms.
He said that the decline in real spend is at the heart of why relationships between clients, agencies and the media have become fractured. A perceived lack of transparency has led to a trust deficit, relationships becoming shorter, creativity being undervalued and media owners becoming commoditizied.
“The phrase that one hears constantly throughout the industry is that it is a ‘race to the bottom’ on pricing. The sector needs to wake up and say that this is not sustainable. If we are to have a healthy Irish media market, a strong local marketing business and a vibrant agency / creative community then we have a responsibility to look at the choices that we are making now,” he said.
McPartlin also said that much of the advertising being produced here now is at best workmanlike and at worst inoffensive, invisible and ineffective. “We seem to have become so focused on science around advertising that maybe we’ve forgotten the ‘magic’ bit.”