Media inflation challenges advertising growth
The local advertising industry has recorded a marked growth in the
recent past, an advertising expert said.
On the average the growth of the local advertising industry has been
about 26 percent over the last 10 years which is primarily driven by
media inflation. Creatively the industry has grown but in terms of
business value, it has not grown as no new categories have emerged.
There have not been any significant competitive challenges for any
big brands, which generally fuel the industry. The professional
standards are also growing, slowly but surely. The need for integrated
communications is also developing, Leo Burnett Solutions, Managing
Director Ranil de Silva told Daily News Business.
“The advertising industry targets 20 percent growth. Although the
post war period has seen many industries record rapid growth, our
industry will take some time to register this growth as money must get
into the hands of consumers and consumer spending has to enhance for
advertising investments to grow. Today the disposable income of the
average person has not increased, therefore he does not have the ability
to indulge, thus the opportunities for marketeers is still limited due
to the limitation in the size of the pie, he said.
There has been little or no change in how the self-regulatory
responsibility has evolved. The International Advertising Association
(IAA), which is an international organization with a chapter in Sri
Lanka was taking up an initiative to address the subject but this effort
is still to be implemented, he said.
India is a power house and they have a very strong base in the
region. We at this are not on par with the Indian industry and their
standards specially in terms of their production resources, people and
standards. The leading agencies in Sri Lanka are multinational agencies,
which is the norm in this industry in almost every country. Our networks
do have a strong presence in India. Our source of strength comes from
the Indian operations, which have had a head start to us in this
industry, he said.
“Some marketeers are using Indian advertising to support their
brands. This is done for two reasons, one being a multinational client
requirement, wherein the principals insist that the brand is promoted
with the foreign material as the Sri Lankan market is too small to
warrant creative executions locally and may not fulfill their quality
expectations. The other is that there is a lot of Indian products
entering the market and therefore the distributors find it easy to use
the Indian advertising to support their brand, as they are possibly
checking out the potential for the brand and the category in the market.
We as an agency would love to produce local work for every possible
client rather than use foreign material but circumstances sometimes
necessitate it to be otherwise, he said.
“There is an on going effort to improve our standards at Leo Burnett.
We invest extensively in training as well as send our people overseas to
get exposure with the sole ambition of improving our own standards. In
my capacity as the representative for the Cannes Lions, I have also
played the role of giving opportunities to young Sri Lankan
professionals to attend global and Asian programs to expose themselves
to world standards. During the brief period I have been doing this task,
we have provided 20 young people the opportunity to attend many
different advertising forums, competitions and festivals, he said.
“The local advertising industry faces challenges such as ensuring
ethical and fair practices in the industry, gaining fair compensation
for our services as professionals, developing our talent and retaining
them. It is important to attract talented young people into the
“It is also vital to help improve creativity to gain its place as the
means to achieve the results pursued by a brand, managing the tripartite
partnership and to ensuring a fair playing field,” he said.