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McCann boss: Digital advertising revenue doubles in five years

Thursday, March 20, 2014
James Smith, managing director, McCann Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: Maryanne Auguste

The advertising media market is a competitive one which attracts revenue of more than $0.5 billion a year, said James Smith, managing director of advertising firm McCann Port-of-Spain. 


The changing dynamics of the advertising market in the last five years -- which included the global economic downturn -- have seen revenue double in digital advertising.


Smith recalled in an interview at his office on Rapsey Street, St Clair, on Monday that during 2008-2013, the advertising sector did not experience deep declines as the telecom market had started to heat up. The corporate community chose not to significantly cutback on advertising.


“Trinidad is a very competitive place, so therefore brands out there compete a lot. I don’t think the financial 2008/2009, I don’t recall there being any huge downturn within our business, but obviously that was a key time when the telecommunications battle was going on.”


Advertising agencies come and go. Two that came to mind for Smith were OGM Trinidad and Hernandez FCB.


McCann Port-of-Spain, which has a staff of 60, four of whom focus entirely on digital advertising, has won 12 Gold Addy Advertising awards and 18 silver awards at the 2014 Caribbean Addy Awards.


Election campaigns have been known to attract millions of dollars in advertising, McCann stays far away from politics.


“As part of our way of operating, we stay apolitical. We want to be impartial, our business is working with our clients and we have not been involved in any political advertising.


“The type of political advertising is very polarising and one wins and one loses. It is just a choice that McCann makes. I think it’s not just here, but elsewhere. We do not get involved in political advertising; that’s obviously to remain neutral.”


Advertising attracted through political campaigns is tracked separately by the T&T Publishers and Broadcasters Association to determine whether the market has grown or not. 


“ A lot of money comes into the market (during campaigning). Some people (business leaders) during periods of high clutter or political advertising will pull back their advertising, so it does not get lost in all the clutter. In the last three years, our economy has been fairly stagnant, so you haven’t seen much growth overall in the advertising fraternity.”


How does McCann generate revenue during elections? It does more “trade promotion” by working in the various groceries or stores. A trade promotion is a marketing technique aimed at increasing demand for a product, such as having a customer buy four items and get one free.


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