From the other side of a small, white desk in his London office, Mike Florence is explaining why he sometimes thinks of the media and advertising industry as being a bit like Milton Keynes.
“We’ve just dumped it in, and it’s grown organically. There are bloody roundabouts everywhere. And what are you going to do, stick on another roundabout?”
It’s a good question – what should the future of adland look like? Do agencies and startups continue to expand on a model that already exists, or is it time to rip up the roads and start something new?
Quoting Howard Luck Gossage, an advertising innovator and iconoclast during the ‘Mad Men’ era, Florence says: “The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”
That statement is more relevant now than it ever has been before, he adds.
“What really frustrates me is when teams drink the Kool-aid of their clients, or their client believes too much in their own product and they don’t realise that it’s actually really difficult to get somebody to attend to their message,” he says.
“You can’t see the forest through the trees, because you become so close to what it is that you’re doing that you forget that nobody’s actually listening. Lots of people put campaigns out there as though people are just waiting – and I find that astounding.”
Read the full interview with Mike at Mediatel Newsline.