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15/05/2008 - par Mark Tungate

Over the past few months I've been teaching the history of advertising at Parsons Paris, a school of design for English-speaking students. They are a jet-setting bunch : born in Asia, the United States, Scandinavia and even Russia, many of them come from privileged backgrounds and have lived in several different countries. Some of them arrive at class armed with Gucci hand­bags, Mac Air computers and iPhones.

As the finale of their course, I've divided them into mini advertising agencies and asked them to pitch for an account (I pretend to be the marketing director of Diesel). I've left the strategy and creative approach entirely to their imaginations. The standard is uniformly high, and three trends have emerged : social consciousness (consumers are encouraged to buy eco products that donate money to charity) ; consumer generated content (create your own ads and post them online) and interactivity (online gaming).

Not one of them has included mobile phones in their strategy. When I asked why, they all described mobile phone advertising as « annoying ». Considering that these are the 20-something upmarket opinion leaders so adored by brands, I'm tempted to conclude that the advent of the mobile phone as an effective marketing tool is some way off. According to an article in the International Herald Tribune, the Mobile Marketing Association believes ad spend on mobiles will rise to US$25 billion by 2013. It may be a wrong number.

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