The ad industry’s heritage of challenge VS innovation

How will we use our diversity and resilience as fuel for our growth and prosperity?

As we celebrate our heritage as a people and a nation, some of us might marvel at the strength and resilience South Africans have and how these have played a pivotal role in us surviving all we have and getting us to where we are now.

For all that we’ve have gone through, our propensity to take a step back and laugh at ourselves has gone a long way into providing an escape from the mundane and respite from pain. With the advent of social media many have remarked at how we are able to take a moment of triumph or adversity and turn into laughter and joy on social media.

The truth is that we are as a creative as we are diverse, and this cannot be more apparent than when we take a closer look at the South African Advertising/communications industry.

Touted as one of the most creative and dynamic markets globally, the South African Advertising industry punches very much above its weight when you look at things from an international scope.

It more ways than one, the journey and milestones achieved by the industry loosely mirror the ebb and flows our country has been on since the very beginning.

South African advertising’s humble beginnings can be traced back to the days when print newspapers had as much reach as social media. Just as the nation progressed to the airways with radio, so did advertising. The ushering of television in the seventies meant advertising had to adapt for the screen, merging sound and visuals to create the primary means of appealing to the consumer.

The drastic changes within the country’s socio-political reality was not unlike the fast-paced changes within an industry that had to quickly contend with the increasingly discerning consumer and thus, equally demanding client.

Outside of evolving technology and the growing intricacies of consumer behaviour, global interconnectedness meant that South African consumers and clients now had a view of international standard practice. This only meant they now came to expect it from the local players in the advertising space.

Furthermore, the need to replicate what was being done internationally had to be fused into a kind of South African authenticity that we came to expect as competitors multiplied and campaign budgets grew.

After being heaped with international praise and recognition, much like South Africa, the industry has had to keep the reinvention going in order to step out of the mould of being the overachievers of the developing world and take its place on the world stage.

The reality is that although mobile and digital are the way to go, a considerable sum of the South African audience still needs to be reached using traditional means.

It is at these crossroads that we now find ourselves, with new media at our disposal, the next move is simple enough on screen, but the execution will prove to be the next hurdle we must overcome.