Published Tuesday, September 13, 2016

OPMA Workshop: Localising Advertising in Today’s Age

Localising a Central Strategy? Call in the Media Owners!

“I worked on a global campaign that centred on prompting an emotional response through a single image,” mused Carl Cullingford, owner of International Graphic Press (IGP). “To get the right response we had to change that image for every single market”.

                This is the age-old challenge facing international brands: how do you effectively localise a central strategy? It was a topic tackled head-on by the Overseas Press and Media Association ( when they brought together leading media agencies, brand owners and media owners to discuss how they can work better together.  There were over 100 people at the Caledonian Club, London.

                Central to the discussion was the role that local media owners and representatives can play in supporting localisation. In today’s complex and constantly evolving media landscape, OPMA provides an essential central resource that connects brands and agencies with local market experts who have all the right connections at their fingertips. They provide local market insight as well as a buying resource.  This makes localising a global campaign “quicker, easier and more effective,” asserted Chris Maundrell, President of OPMA. Rob Stevens, Global Strategy Director at Mediacom, agreed: “We are all fighting to differentiate ourselves, and having good ideas does that,” he said. “To generate good ideas we need as much information as possible, as well as help to distil it into something usable, so local media owners with on-the-ground insight are absolutely invaluable.”


Agency Panel (left to right)

Speakers: Rob Stevens, MediaCom; Sean Canon, OMD; Chetan Murthy, Vizeum

Moderator; Nick Emmanuel, G&J

                 However, the pace of modern campaigns leaves little room for consultation with media owners, who are often brought into the process too late to really influence campaign strategy. Carl Cullingford believes this is a missed opportunity, and stressed that media owners have far more to offer than last-minute inputs into precise media plans. “We can advise on how to market to certain types of consumers in certain markets,” he said. However, he felt that briefs were often unhelpfully generic and lacked key information around brand strategy and campaign goals that would enable media owners to provide the most effective solutions. “Asking the right targeted questions of the media owners, publishers, web owners and their representatives is going to get more out of the process,” he stated.

                 The event closed with a panel discussion on the importance of the three Ts: Trust, Talent and Technology. What became clear is that while technology is pervading absolutely everything, it is not always a quick fix. Chris Carmichael, Media and Marketing Consultant and ex-client, stressed the need to “start with a very clear question and then identify how technology might help you answer that question – rather than simply jumping straight to technology as the answer.” He went on to warn against underestimating the importance of human relationships “when it comes to getting things done effectively both globally and locally.”


Three ‘T’s Panel (left to right)

Moderator: David Oliver, Mercury Publicity

Speakers: Chris Carmichael, Global Media & Marketing Consultant; Brian Jacobs, Enreach; Ailsa Lochrie, Mindshare

We should not forget the crucial role that real people and talent, plays in identifying opportunities. As Rob Stevens pointed out, you can automate media plans but “you can’t automate ideas.” Rob went on to stress the importance of spotting good ideas early enough in the process to apply them to other markets, citing the classic example of the ‘Share a Coke’ slogan that started in Australia but was quickly adopted all over the world. When it comes to ideas, it seems that media owners have much to offer. As Rob Stevens concluded, “We should all be making good use of this resource… and if we are not then it’s a real miss.”

Lastly, Patrick Melville, Founder of Melville Marketing Solutions and organiser of the day, concluded by drawing attention to a core theme raised by the client panel.  This was that agencies, reps and media owners must understand their client’s challenges and bring their solutions to them.  Localising is clearly a core challenge, which they can all answer.

If you want to know more or have any questions, please get in touch with:

Chris Maundrell -

Patrick Melville -


Opening speech by OPMA president Chris Maundrell

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