The last two years have been one of the most challenging ones in recent history, with companies having to adapt and be very resilient and strong in order to survive a never-before seen situation. With no means to compare it to anything else. Still, 2021 proved to be good for the marcomm Romanian industry, for the companies that knew how to drive the trends and be flexible.
By Romanita Oprea
BR talked with Roxana Memetea, Managing Partner at DDB Romania & Tribal Worldwide Romania, and found out how was 2021 for the companies she is representing, as well as the goals, hopes and expectations for this year. This is the first interview in a series of materials on the 2021-2022 topics.
How would you describe the year 2021 for DDB and Tribal?
It was a very good year, with its ups and downs. I am hardly surprised anymore, but 2021 has somehow managed to remind me why I work in this industry and why I like it so much. We reinforced the important partnerships we have, some for 15 years, we discovered some new partners with whom we have already started building amazing creative work, we discovered new fields to explore, and we really had fun.
What were the most difficult aspects? What about the best ones?
We had some issues finding new blood for our team. There aren’t so many juniors on the market. But it all went just fine, we created a partnership together with the University of Bucharest and we created a program from where we can recruit new talents and offer them the chance to be part of our team. We basically give them, and ourselves, a chance to be connected.
The best ones were the pitches we have won, which proved once again what a great collective we have and other recent projects we have launched for our long-time clients. It might sound standard, but I think it’s the year with the most frequent shootings and creative initiatives we had.
What are the things you are most proud of?
My team. I managed to get surrounded by some of the best people that I could have wished for. We have a very senior and established collective that makes everything seem easy even during tough times. Together with these people, we keep reinventing what we do, and we did it with pleasure in a healthy environment.
How much time do you believe we will see the impact of the pandemic on the marcomm industry in Romania?
It’s still there. And it will be there for a long time. But we should not ignore the fact that without the pandemic, the accelerated rhythm of digitalization would have been a lot slower. Probably it’s still going to be with us for a while. It’s the convalescence we all must overcome.
How do you see the local advertising right now?
We started having a lot of regional pitches, I see clients ready to take the next step, I see extremely experienced professionals. We moved from the romantic era, to the mature one, where we started playing with the big boys.
In what type of pitches do you want to be invited in 2022 and why?
I’m a big fan of seeking chemistry in meetings and setting realistic expectations. So, I would say please call us if you’re looking for a long-time partner with whom you want to build. Our portfolio covers a wide range of industries, but we’ll always be open to new, challenging ones. It’s the fun part of advertising, always learning something new.
What do you believe to be the main trends for this year and why?
Thinking about work, I’d say that authentic storytelling remains king, but using new tools like mobile gaming, metaverse, NFTs or crypto. Even though we have access to very insightful data, it really comes down to the story, the piece of the soul you put out there that makes the difference. At least that’s what I put my 2 cents on.
Also, I believe that the way we create content together with influencers will become more relevant, a real conversation starter, during extended partnerships.
In what regards my agency, I’d say that we must make advertising great again. It’s something we all should work for. In this regard, I would mention good mental health, that’s a must in all the talks I’ve recently listened to, respecting boundaries, and really helping people to find their path.
Name 2 myths that still hang around in the industry and they shouldn’t?
Ideas just happen. It’s self-explanatory for anyone working in the industry that it’s 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.
That the consumer/people won’t understand. This is one idea I was never comfortable with. Each time we did a campaign that challenged the Romanians we discovered a mature, educated, and super funny audience. I think we shouldn’t be afraid to try more and to expose our audience to more. It’s also our biggest purpose, right?
What is your goal for 2022 in terms of revenue, but also new clients, employees, etc?
We’re growing for sure. In the given context, is quite difficult to have clear predictions, but we are a very healthy business that is growing every year. For 2022 we want again to challenge ourselves and to grow at least 20% versus last years. We expect to deliver this growth from new business, winning new clients and the year started very active reinforcing our optimism about achieving this goal. Also, we want to develop more partnerships with our clients and to extend the services that we are offering to them. And more importantly, we set the objective to attract the best talents and to develop more our new departments: influencer management, CRM.
Where is the local industry still lacking and what can it be changed?
Is quite difficult to point out one thing that is not working well, but I would stress the fact that we still need to learn as an industry to value more the added value of strategy and creative services and to fight more for this, because at the end as Bill Bernbach (our founder) said: “Creativity is the more powerful force in business”. A study among top CEOs in the world pointed that “creativity” was the main thing that helped them to create a change and growth in the companies’ life. To produce that, we all must have to work and appreciate that.
In one of our interviews, you said that the main differentiation for Romania, in comparison with more developed and financially powerful countries, is especially this very resource: CREATIVITY. Do you still stand by it?
Yes. I truly believe we have some of the brightest minds here, in Romania. Having global clients gives me access to decks from all around the world and believe me, we are nailing it. Not to mention that I see how appreciated our creatives are in regional pitches or presentations. I received some great feedback lately. Also, the fact that from all over Europe they are trying to recruit our creatives, I say it’s a good sign.
How do you see the creative sector in Romania in 2022 and what do you think will happen in the future?
Fast-paced. A lot happens in all related industries. Talking about metaverse, data, theatre, I see great minds trying to create a new tomorrow. And I simply love it.
How would you describe yourself as an advertising professional and managing director?
Hard questions. I would rather ask my colleagues than answer myself, but I’ll do the exercise. I like to see myself firstly as a kind person, that really tries her best for all her colleagues and clients, and secondly, ready. I understood a while ago that the only constant in this industry is change, so I embrace it. And it’s still super fun. I still really like my job.