Everything has changed, nothing has changed

Everything has changed, nothing has changed

We are very proud to announce that Campaign Magazine, in partnership with TheNetworkOne, has for the third year running included BBD Perfect Storm in their World’s Leading Independent Agencies feature. Read our CEO, Jason Foo’s perspective on the future of our industry, brands, and challenging the role agencies play within this.

Why does the advertising and marketing industry exist?

It’s fair to say the answer has always been pretty clear: our job has been to persuade and sell. Then, sometime around the beginning of the last decade, the purpose movement began to really gather momentum. This was all helped along by Simon Sinek. “People don’t buy what you make, they buy what you believe in,” he implored. “It’s not about your ‘what’, it’s about your ‘why’.” If you don’t have a purpose, why do you exist? Companies with genuinely embedded, committed social purposes, such as Patagonia and Toms, prospered. Suddenly, companies everywhere felt naked if they weren’t at least attached to something ‘good.’ The purpose bandwagon set off, and every brand owner and its agency was on it.

Every product and brand, no matter how filthy,

was given a good-purpose wash and cleaned out the other side. Even a perfectly well-managed, ‘priceless’ brand such as Mastercard suddenly thought it was appropriate to connect scoring goals in the World Cup with donating meals for starving children. And, of course, we all know Pepsi felt that, with the help of Kendall Jenner, it could help achieve world peace and quell riots.

Industry cynics, understandably, had a field day. So it was not ultimately surprising that, as 2020 marked the start of a new decade, several industry commentators trumpeted that the purpose fad has passed. It was time to get back to the business of ‘selling’. But what is it we are selling? What is it that consumers will want to buy in the next decade and beyond? The creative industries have always been drivers of growth and demand. But what happens when limitless growth and demand is not what the planet needs?

Our society is creating an ironic paradox:

the greater our collective strides toward extending human life, the greater our collective impact toward causing irreversible damage and, ultimately, extinguishing the planet we live upon. There is another paradox: as we humans live longer and work longer, the life span of the companies we create are getting shorter. In the 1950s, the average life span of a Fortune 500 company was 60 years. Currently it is 15 years. Yale School of Management estimates that between 50-75% of the current Fortune 500 companies will be extinct by 2027.

We all have a responsibility to apply our considerable creative talents to help build more sustainable companies that create a more sustainable, collective future for our society. So let’s apply our creative thinking to transformational business models, consumer experiences and consumer behaviours. Let’s build and promote brands that grow the world and positively shape our society, rather than create division and drive us to extinction.

We believe our job remains to creatively and culturally sell, persuade and transform. BBD Perfect Storm is the Brand and Cultural Transformation Company. Everything has changed yet nothing has changed.

Words by Jason Foo, CEO, BBD Perfect Storm. The full article was published on Campaign Magazine.

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