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23/03/2006 - par Mark Tungate

Kevin Roberts has what you might call le sens de la formule. When the ebullient Saatchi&Saatchi worldwide CEO paid a visit to Paris last week, he was virtually exploding with expressions and ideas. The first was Sisomo, the title of his new book. It stands for Sight, Sound&Motion on Screen (sisomo.com). Rather than lamenting the death of traditional TV advertising, as many agencies are doing, Roberts argues that our lives are more screen-based than ever. Mobile phones are becoming like TVs, in-store screens are becoming like cinemas, and computers are becoming entertainment hubs. Even shopping carts may soon have screens. Roberts argues that this evolution is a golden opportunity for advertisers - when they wake up.

He also spoke of viral consumers. These are people who love to talk about products, particularly via the Internet. Blogs are the preferred habitats of these consumers, who could be particularly useful to advertising agencies. But most agencies, argues ­Roberts, are too patronising to communicate effectively with them. « We must understand that we are no longer in an interruption economy, where ads had to scream at consumers, but in an attraction economy, where we have to seduce them, » he said. « Consumers now hold the power. »

Roberts also had harsh words for the French, who he considers « are great at talking about ideas, but not very good at putting them into ­action ». Let's hope, for the sake of French advertising, that he's wrong.

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