009: Mandela’s ’94 Presidential Campaign, Smart TV’s, and BMW – A Top Creative Director’s Journey with Louis Gavin
Louis Gavin has cultivated a respect for creativity and unique approaches to advertising over his illustrious career. Hear how he was an essential element of Nelson Mandela’s presidential campaign in 1994, worked through the transition to digital advertising in the auto industry, and his thoughts on the best way to be a creative director, leader, and mentor on this episode of The Digital Marketing Mentor.
Key Points + Topics
- [1:02] Louis Gavin decided to go the route of art as his focus of study, despite a deep love of music. He achieved entrance into Wits and then moved to a private school. At this school, the instructors functioned more as mentors than classic professors. A mentor forms a more personal relationship than a teacher. There were opportunities to find the teacher you related to the most and most appreciated their style and have them guide you.
- [3:28] During a short stint in the diamond business, to pay the bills, he worked with an advertising agency to run a campaign for the company. And that is what drew him into the advertising world. When he looked at advertising, he saw a good blend of creative work for a commercial goal. It was a good balance for his creative mind.
- [6:39] Most of his mentors have been people with whom he worked. The creative-lean of the ad business encourages you to look at the industry greats and the great ad campaigns, and, like a musician would, you try to emulate the style and techniques. It’s a very ego-centric business, so you must find your approach and spin. He would find people with whom he had good chemistry to mentor him. Some senior individuals would sense those who wanted some guidance and help.
- [9:55] How you process and handle criticism really goes to the heart of everything. As Jay Chiat has said, “When a client rejects your work, they’re rejecting you.” So, you have to learn to listen. You don’t always have to agree, but it usually pays to agree with those more experienced than you. You also need to have confidence in your solutions. Much of this comes from having a good creative director (CD). A good CD will give you the room to have your own approach without crushing it to substitute their own. John Hunt, an inspiration for Louis, was always good at drawing the best solutions and work out of people rather than substituting his own.
- [13:27] These days, it seems like everyone is a creative director – even the client. But, in the 80s and 90s, the world was still doing classic advertising. The Creative Director was the band leader, and you had to follow their lead. Louis went into his own business early. To him, the real skill is knowing how to lead and influence people. It’s important not to force your will on people but to learn to guide and shape theirs. The best way to be a good CD is to nurture, learn, and explore with your employees. To be a good leader, you must overcome the fear that someone will be better than you. They’ll jump ahead of you, and you must learn to step aside. A good creative director, leader, and mentor will create a culture of learning. Those are the best cultures where you get this mix of ideas, but they require strong leadership; without it, there’s anarchy.
- [20:05] Louis Gavin was a crucial component in the advertising campaign by The African National Congress (ANC) to get Nelson Mandela elected president in 1994. It was a very intense experience. His agency was called late one evening in 1990, shortly after Mandela had been freed from prison, and began work on advertising for the organization’s first pro-democracy convention. Much of the information shared in the next four years approaching the election was a culture shock for white South Africans. They’d been in a bubble of propaganda for so long, and many had been brought up very anti-apartheid and anti-government.
- A key element of their campaign was education. They had to show people what reality truly was for many citizens in South Africa. They had to give perspective to garner sympathy. Despite a plethora of violence and organizations looking to sabotage the election, they managed to promote the image that Nelson Mandela and his party were the voice of reason, democracy, and human rights, and they were the solution to the deadlock that existed at the time. It was very exciting and a privilege to be involved in that part of history.
- [28:08] It was gratifying when Louis Gavin’s agency won a large contract with BMW. Despite being a relatively small fish in a big pond, they were backed by TBWA, which gave some weight to their approach. They gave an excellent presentation and got the campaign that existed during the transition in the auto industry from traditional to digital-inclusive advertising.
- [32:05] Through his work with Wurl, the backend streaming service for many smart TVs, Louis saw a new advertising approach. Their systems know what audiences, demographics, and people are watching a program at any given time, and they can aggregate advertising according to the view, in a nanosecond, without a preplanned schedule. This is creating a new system where advertisers only pay if the ads work. With this new approach, creativity, while still being the magic and x-factor, could become less impactful. When you can target your audience so specifically, you can be very functional in your messaging; you don’t have to be so creative. But Louis emphasizes the importance of differentiation between brand strategy, marketing strategy, and communication strategy.
- [35:21] Lightening Round
- Favorite Musicians – Bass Player Edition
- Marcus Miller
- Cold Train
- Miles Davis
- Thelonious Monk
- Oscar Peterson
- Snarky Puppy
- Scary Puppets
- Favorite Musicians – Bass Player Edition
Guest + Episode Links
Danny Gavin 00:26
Hello everyone, I’m Danny Gavin, founder of Optidge, marketing professor, and the host of The Digital Marketing Mentor. Today I’d like to welcome Louis Gavin, an award-winning top advertising executive in South Africa who has over 40 years experience advertising writing, and as a creative professional he’s super passionate about storytelling and creative problem solving. Also an accomplished musician, he cofounded and was a partner in TBWA/Gavin/Reddy as well as Open Co. and he also happens to be my uncle. Louis, welcome to the show.
Louis Gavin 00:58
Hi, Danny. Thank you for having me.
Danny Gavin 01:01
Alright, so let’s first get into where you went to school and what you studied.
Louis Gavin 01:07
Well, OK, so there you go. Into school called Efflam boys. Which was? A very English style school my I study I was. I always had an interest in music and art. I should have studied music, but for some reason after spending a short amount of time. Looking at the family business, I decided to go and study art. I managed through a good artist friend to get a bursary into vets where I spent a short time actually and then moved on to a private school. It was run on a mentorship basis, you know, there were senior, there were the art teachers worked as mentors. They didn’t work as classic teachers as in as in a university for example, but they were, they worked as mentors. And the difference is, I think it I think. Not always necessarily so, but I think mentors form a more personal relationship with you than a classic teacher. So there were several opportunities as students to find the teacher that kind of you related to and to relate to them and to look up to them and to use them as guides. So it was very much a mentorship kind of environment. A lot of the artists are really graduated, so it wasn’t a school for beginners, it was a school for artists. And in fact i was there with William Kentridge, who’s probably South Africa’s best known artist at this point. So a lot of the people there were serious about art and were already graduated and needed that other level being taken into to, you know, to forget a little bit about all the technique and learn more about the path of being an artist so. That was my first really. My so my real education is being about mentorship.
Danny Gavin 03:25
You spent time in art school. What brought you into the ad agency world?
Louis Gavin 03:30
Ok, so i had a short stint in the diamond business and it really wasn’t for me. So this was after art when I suddenly realized you actually had to earn a living, that you could dream about being an artist. It was, you know, it was quite a different thing being an artist and earning. Living advertised so i wanted to experience what it was like to actually earn some money and I spent a little bit of time in the in the Danville, but it really wasn’t for me. It was about a year I spent and during that time we were doing some promotions for ourselves and I’ve got involved with the we had a small ad agency. Who engaged the business and helped us with some marketing and. I’d before I’d had interest in writing, obviously through my the art experience. I also kept Diaries and wrote about my experience and so on. That’s where I first. Became interested in writing. What I I’d always been interested in writing and in recording experience. I felt like a creative person. I mean, I’d had this deep experience in a very creative art school where we were encouraged to not necessarily learn technique, but to look inside yourself and to find the creative inspiration and why did you want to create? It was more about why do you want to do what you’re doing. Why do you want to create? What is the urge to create? What are you learning about yourself? I mean, one of the first things we did, you had to do self portraits. There was, there was one of the first exercises at there. It was an exercise that repeated itself several times over the period that I was there and it was about really recording your experience. Although you were painting a portrait or drawing a portrait or whatever technique you are using. It was more about the experience. Of what we experiencing about yourself what were you seeing about yourself what you get. So it was all about the creative urge and there was far removed from business I mean business is just another world from that business was completely 180 degree from that and I think i had a need an inner need to create and to make things and to produce things and let it kind of. When I looked at advertising, it was an interesting balance between business and, creativity because it’s creativity, but serving a commercial? Objective a commercial. There’s a commercial end in at all. You’re trying to persuade people to either, you know, buy into your brand or to buy your product. So it was a nice balance for me and that’s how I got involved in it. And I spent a couple of months in the agency that was working that worked on our business and then I moved on into some of the larger groups from there.
Danny Gavin 06:37
So when you look back at your early days in the ad. World, who are some of the mentors in your life that were like, oh, those are the guys who really helped me get onto the path of being successful?
Louis Gavin 06:48
Musician with people who I worked with, right. So yes, names aren’t really the pointer. It’s a creative endeavour, you know, being in the ad business and you do look at the industry grades there was the Burn bucks or the world and you looked at greater ads and you just like a musician. Would try and emulate good musicians, well musicians at their respective music that they love and try to copy the technique and the style of a musician was very similar in the head industry you would find a style of advertising, especially as a writer. And in those days you remember this is going back to around the eighties. So social media was a dream was it wasn’t even a twinkle in some inventors eye. You know that we were still dreaming about computers and about the ability to. Move text around the screen, and that was still a dream in the early eighties. You’d kind of read about it, that there were these machines that people. Had developed. And that’s a whole other story because I was one of the first people in South Africa to work on the word process. But that’s a whole other story. I think from day one, the people who are more senior, they were always the heroes in an agency. The guys who were doing the great work or the woman who were doing the great work and who were winning the awards and you would naturally be drawn to them. And some would. It’s a pretty ego centered business. You’d have to. You know, work out your approach and your spin to get people to notice you. So it’s also very competitive business. You know, inevitably you would find people who there’s a chemistry with, good chemistry. There would be people more senior. And if they were true creative people, they would sense that you would want some sort of guidance and help. And there would be the kind of people you could turn to. So you could bring a piece of copy that you were writing to them and ask them a question. You could ask them about the structure of the style. Of the headline worked for them or not. One thing about messaging and advertising is that it’s very subjective. And to move from that subjective point to a point, an objective point where you on where you know that you’re communicating clearly with an audience outside of you, sometimes needs an audience to vet what you’re doing. It’s very easy to become very subjective. That’s really where it started and it was a matter of I think what one tries to do in the ad industry is get into the best agencies possible. If you if you were a person who had creative ambitions, you are, you aim to be in the agency that was winning the most awards and when you were in that agency you would try and befriend the people who are most successful. So and it was, it was a very competitive environment, very competitive.
Danny Gavin 09:53
So how did you deal with criticism? Because I imagine there’s people around you know, especially in your early days. And you know, they might have looked at something like, oh, this is horrible, but so how did you deal with those sort of encounters?
Louis Gavin 10:05
So I mean that’s a that is a really good question because it goes to the heart of everything. I think it was the head of Chiat Day, Jay Chiat, the late Jaya Chaya Chaya who in fact is TBW agency today in LA but he was one of the leaders of the creative industry and he said when a client rejects your work, they rejecting you. And what he’s saying is, you know, at the end of the day, you can control your ego, but it is all ego. So how do you take criticism? Look, you have to learn to listen. You don’t always have to agree, but it usually pays to agree with people who are more senior and cleverer than you, or who have achieved more. So you have to know who to listen to and who not to listen to. That’s one of one of the answers. But you need to know how to listen and to consider that. Criticism closely and to look at the work and to go away and use that input that is one of the most difficult things because they’re you know as the saying goes there many ways to skin a cat and one way you know their way might be right. It’s not necessarily the only way and I think one of the tests in that kind of environment is also having confidence in your own solutions and that your. Creative solution, it might also be right. And I think a good mentor or a good creative director and the same thing really will give you that leeway. And I know from having been, you know, a creative director for many years and Chief Creative Officer and so on is the key I learned is that sometimes people show you something. And there’s your way, which might be. Completely different. And there’s their way. And it’s to see what’s good about what they’re doing, to see what’s right about what they’re doing. To see what has potential in what they’re. Even though it might not be the way I would do it or the way you would do it. And to guide them to get to do what they’re doing to the best of their ability and to get the best idea out of their idea as opposed to out of your idea. I think a bad creative director and a bad mentor is going to say Nah, Nah, I don’t like that. That’s not good. Try this and that’s the quickest way to kill people or to get people to leave to resign and move on or find you know or to create enemies in that kind of environment. So I think for me the interestingly I mean if I go back to one of the creative directors or the owners of the agency that I think played a big role in my career was John Hunt who’s just been. He was the worldwide creative director of TWA. Has just been. Molested into the Hall of Fame, Advertising Hall of Fame. He was always good at getting the best out of other people and not necessarily getting them to do what he wanted his way, but, you know, perfecting their way. So that was something I learned from him and it’s something that has always worked.
Danny Gavin 13:20
As you’re growing in your career, obviously that gets to a point where you are become a creative director. So tell me a little bit about that time or what got you into that? Point things have changed a little, but certainly in South Africa these days, everyone’s a creative director. Including the client. So in my day, in the heyday, in the in the eighties and nineties when. We’re still in classic advertising. Before the Internet and before digital world, a Creative Act was a creative director. They were the band leader, you know, and you had to take their lead. So what one of the disciplines that was put into was actually Huntley scorers. Tw Hunter scores in the early days when it was still a small agency. And it has become that agency has become worldwide agency of the year. That it has been number one in the world was that something John Hunter put into practice was that everybody had a mentor, someone. So even if you were just, if you’d been in a writer or an art director for two years, you had to mentor those who’d been there for a year and those who’ve been there for four years or five years, they’ve been in the business five years, had to mentor those below them and so on all the way up to the top, and that created. Such an environment to learning and teaching environment and sharing environment. It also created a lot of problems because people would steal ideas. And anybody would claim to have had the same idea. I know it was my idea. No, it was. It wasn’t your idea was my idea. But there were there that kind of set the stage. I went into my own business early. I wasn’t an accomplished creative director. When I started my first business outside of Huntley scores or they gave me the opportunity to start a business. So I went into that business as head of creative and I hadn’t really played that role. I’d been a senior writer, but I hadn’t played the role of Creative director and. The thing about Creative Director, I mean, first of all, you’ve got it. You’ve gotta know what you’re talking about to some degree. You’re not entirely, but to some degree you have to know what you’re talking about. I think the real skill is knowing how to lead people and how they influence people because it is a very ego centered industry and you got a lot of people are very confident. And it’s very difficult to say when you’re trying to assert some kind of leadership when a junior person sort of like pushes back and says well why is that right. So you have to learn very quickly that the way to mentor. Is not too. It, you know, force your will, as I’ve said, on people, but to allow their own wool to kind of shape their will, that is a way of directing the energy, the creative energies. And I learned that very quickly with by employing people. I realized that. The quickest way to lose somebody was to impose your will on them. And the best way was to nurture them and to work with them and to explore with them. You know, you can also, although you need to take the lead and you need to show leadership, you can also work side by side with people and explore ideas with them. And that was very much a way that I took as well. I would collaborate with people even with younger people and a lot of people, some people would abuse that. But certainly in the important parts of my career, it became the way that. I worked with people. I created my fair share of creative leaders who. Went around the world, enjoyed major agencies and became heads of agencies. So I think it’s kind of was put to the test to some degree.
Danny Gavin 17:11
And I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve seen people or I’ve met people that have worked with you, there’s this sense of like awe and respect but also love. You know, of what you gave and provided. But it’s awesome. Like a true leader is someone who makes other leaders, and it’s not necessarily someone who, you know, squashes people down.
Louis Gavin 17:30
And to do that, you can’t. You really have to get rid of the fear that somebody’s going to be better than you. And the fear that somebody might. Ok. I owned, I was part owner of the business so I could fire them at any point. But no you got to overcome that fear and I think it is a real fear because in many people have said it. You know employ people are better than you not people who smaller than you know many leaders. I’m David Ogilvy was one of the early leaders that was one of his war cries is if you want to be great. You know employ people better than you and it’s scary to employ people are better than you because especially if they’re really smart. They say they jump ahead and you have to know how to step aside and allow that to happen. You know, it’s like riding a horse. The horse is faster and stronger and more powerful than you are. And I don’t know if it’s an apt analogy. I don’t think you can control people like that. But there’s something about it. You know maybe there’s something that’s true about that is that you have to know how to allow the allow them to express their power and. Not be threatened by it and it can be threatening at times, especially when people are aggressive. And a little bit sociopathic and or power hungry. You know, and I think you’ll have to know when to be able to say no there are times we have to say, well, tough, if you don’t like it, you can go work somewhere else. There are those times, but it’s a balance. Those are rare occasions right because I’m sure in the 1st place you’re looking for people who are going to be a good culture fit and naturally kind of work in the organization. So you always have those outliers, but you try your best to get the right people in at the beginning.
Louis Gavin 19:22
It’s a important word, culture. Obviously a lot has been written about it, but it’s all about culture, you know? And I think to create a culture of mentorship you know, where people are willing to learn and people are willing to teach, I suppose. That’s a learning culture, you know, and which is a term that’s been used and those are the best cultures because. You get this mix of ideas and those are, but you need strong leadership in that. In that scenario you need strong leadership.
Danny Gavin 19:56
Yeah, you don’t want to let people run completely wild.
Louis Gavin 19:59
Too much freedom is anarchy, you know.
Danny Gavin 20:02
All right. Let’s jump into more of the advertising world. So I know throughout your career you’ve won lots of awards. In particular, I know that you were involved with Nelson Mandela’s first campaign for presidential election. Can you tell me a little bit? About that experience.
Louis Gavin 20:18
Ok. So that was a very intense experience. Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1990 We were approached the same year by the ANC. The way that happened was in those days I was i had just started the business within Hunter Scariest TBW Hunter Scars. Hunter scars were the agency to the best known agency in South Africa. The agency there was winning all the awards. In those days the ANC was still a kind of banned organization. And a lot of the leaders were still on a terrorist watch list, classified as terrorists by Western governments, but I think the ANC was unbanned. 18 on round there and in 19 Nelson Mandela was released. However, a lot of the key people were still persona non grata where they were stalled what they’re called banned individuals in South Africa and it was against the law to be with them. Although things were changing dramatically and they called Hunter scores there, happened to call it about six 6:00 in the evening. They put the call through to us. Strangely enough, the person who was on the phone with somebody called Jill Marcus. Who became the head of the Reserve Bank and who was the Chief whip of the ANC, and I happened to have known her. From the days that I was a swimmer in my teens early teens in fact, before I was a teenager. She’s just from at the same swimming club before she went to her parents went into exile. They left the country and I think they went to the UK and I I’d remembered her and I reminded her on the on the phone that I remembered that I knew who she was and that we’d some we’d been swimming together. So that’s sort of already you know she was quite an open warm human being. And that immediately like set a created a bridge and we met with him. This was early 1990 just after Nelson Mandela had been released and they were looking for an advertising agency. They needed people to help them with their image. They needed people to. They had a lot of publicity they had to do. They were having the first Pro Democracy convention in South. It was the first time the anti had ever held. Anything legally in the country and they’d invited, literally. Every country from around the world. And they needed, they needed publicity, they needed to do posters and they needed messaging and so on. So we got involved. I think we did a good job there, and we. It was a culture shock for. White South Africans. He’d been my generation who’d been in the South African Defence Force. Not that we I was. We were always brought up quite anti apartheid but an anti government. But it was still a culture shock because white people were excluded from what was really going on. We were held in a in a bubble. We lived in a bubble, a bubble of propaganda. So it was a bit of a culture shock. It was for the first time we really realized what was going on and we worked closely with them with key people from there. And the although the elections are only in 94 we did many campaigns building up to 1994 There were various things that needed to be done. There was an education crisis in South Africa, black teachers. There was a strike of black teachers because of the conditions of the teaching conditions, the conditions of the school, the schools, the lack of. Resources, the lack of equipment, the classrooms, the lack of schools, too many kids in the school, all that kind of stuff. Kids having to walk 10 kilometers to just all those evils of apartheid that, you know, oppressed an entire population. And it was our very first campaign. Big Campaign was a campaign aimed at South Africa to explain to them why black teachers. On strike because there was no sympathy from a white population. And once you create a perspective and showed the kinds of conditions that there were teaching under and why they had, there was, you know, every kid had a rocky education and so on. So it was the first time that the ruling class of South Africa and the white population started to be exposed to another perspective. Before then it was heavily censored. Wood was propaganda, just pure propaganda. You know, it was just lies that was being sold to you. So that was the first big campaign we did. And then what happened after. There was a lot of violence in the country which was being fomented by various forces. There were people who didn’t want the elections. There was a very powerful right wing in South Africa, an extremist right wing Afrikaner right wing, who you know, were completely against the election. And what was happening in the country and we had to kind of mediate that through the media to find a middle ground and to show that the ANC was in fact a voice of reason. And that was our job really was to educate people and to project an image of them being the voice of reason, the voice of democracy, a voice of human rights and a solution to the deadlock that existed in the country and there was a process that we did in many campaigns and we worked. So I worked very closely with all the key people who are no longer there was the President from Opposer, was somebody who worked with Tabo and Becky who was the previous who was a President, Joe Marcus, he was the chief whip and became governor of the Reserve Bank. All those people and Mandela who we met many times and they would sit in certain meetings. And was a very impressive human being. No questions about it. If you talk about leadership, he just exuded leadership on every level and he would really give everybody their say, but he you know, he would lay down the law. As to what he wanted, but he did it very skillfully. So, yeah, it was a privilege. So from a career point of view, it was, it was an incredibly intense period, you know, six days a week at least. You know, at ANC headquarters in the central business district in a building that was donated to them, I think by Shell. The Shell Oil Company, the difficulty of that all was there was a lot of polarisation and a lot of violence in the lot of tribal violence, different factions, a lot of people trying to sabotage the election. So it was very exciting time. It was a privilege to have been involved in that part of history.
Danny Gavin 27:57
I want to go into later on in your career. I know that you won the contract with BMW. I want, I want you to take me to like knowing that here’s this big company. They’ve worked with an agency for such a long time. You’ve done a pitch and Oh my gosh, like they’ve decided to switch this legacy agency and work with you. Can you describe the feeling just how that went down?
Louis Gavin 28:22
Ok. Well, BMW in particular, it wasn’t the first time I’d worked on BMW. I worked on BMW in the very first job I had in advertising. And then Hunter Scorus had one BMW and I worked on it during that period. You know is that Hunter scores and we did some very memorable ads, which are still classic ads in the South African continent worldwide. It was the ad that beats the bins ad. It’s a whole story on its own. It’s probably a whole program on its own. And they knew that we were part of TWA and we’d also had as part of TWA the company that I owned at one point, TW Gavin Ready Nissan for six years. So you know we were. Kind of steeped in automotive advertising. So they knew and we did a great presentation to them. I had a really fantastic creative team who work, who are in the States today working on New York and who’ve done some BMW work in America and apparently Land Rover as well. But we just did a great presentation and it is a good feeling to go in as a smaller agency. However, with the backing of remember you got the backing of TB. We do a which is was this year’s Global Agency, Global Network of the Year, the Best Network in the world. So you know, that does count for something. It wasn’t like as if we were going in as you know, some small operation right you weren’t.
Louis Gavin 29:57
We weren’t to know name brand by any means and although TWA is the official Nissan agency around the world. Because we were a subsidiary, we could run BMW, interestingly. That period everything was changing in the automotive industry from. Classic advertising to digital. Which is a big transformation. It’s something we should if we got time. It’s still talk about it because I’ve lived through that transition of going from classic mainstream media, you know, prime time television, large billboards, outdoor radio in South Africa. Radio is always a powerful media but you know prime time television into digital social which. If you were to told me in those days that you will one day be doing campaigns the size of business cards. Because that’s what social is. Full campaigns no larger than the business you know with a loft deduce that you sort of crazy because we would always aim for double page spreads. You know newspaper, double praise. But when you launched a car in your car you would go in with four pages in the Sunday newspapers, you know and insert of four pages plus break with the prime time television commercial and billboards you know outdoor in major traffic areas and that’s something which doesn’t it’s not that common anymore. It’s still is. Probably in the US it still is. But it’s not that common in South Africa anymore. I mean, you know, television hardly doesn’t really exist like it used to exist. It’s fragmented, there are thousands of channels and everyone’s watching streaming anyway. So and digital is changed. It’s still changing. It hasn’t only changed the way advertising works, it is changing the way advertising works completely. I managed to do a campaign. I was involved with a Silicon Valley based client called Whirl World. You can look them U. And world is the back end streaming service for most of the connected TV, the Smart TV services and for these studios who want to create programs and so on. And they are fantastic business who’s streaming to billions of people around the world and their systems know who’s watching, what target market is watching, what audience it is, just like on the Internet. But these are. People watching televisions and we’ll aggregate advertising according to the viewer, the viewership at any point in time in nanoseconds, you know, without a schedule, a pre planned schedule, it runs when the right audience is watching. And this allows them to introduce a new kind of advertising which is you only pay if it works kind of thing and therefore everything becomes response based to show that it’s worked, you know go to a website. Click on sign up for one month’s free subscription or whatever it is, free test drive or you know and they pay on efficacy and they are streaming all over the world. So it is changing the nature of creativity and I think it is a big question. About which way it’s all going to you know which way this cookie is going to crumble. I think a lot of people are still in denial about how it’s working and how it’s going. I think it would be great. It would be sad if creativity disappears in this, in this process.
Danny Gavin 33:54
Do you feel like as you’re watching it change? Do you feel like certain aspects are being lost or you feel like it’s?
Louis Gavin 34:00
Definitely i have no doubt. I mean, I would still say that, you know, creativity is The X Factor, it’s the magic is now questioned about it. But when you know exactly who is watching. And you know, you have the data as to what they’ve bought in the past and so on. And you can target a message that doesn’t need a creative spin, but can be functional, purely functional. And that functionality is going to get the response. You know, why bother? Why bother is at the end of the day, at the end of the day. It’s about selling your product to your service. Of course there is brand building. One of the things I’m very strong about is you have to differentiate between brand strategy. Marketing strategy and communication strategy. And then in communication strategy as a digital communication strategy or is it, you know, mainstream media? And I think a lot of people blur those lines and you really have to separate those things. So they’re very different disciplines and a lot of clients certainly outside of the world and I’ve seen in other parts of the world confuse those entirely.
Danny Gavin 35:12
Well, Louise, thank you so much for such a rich conversation today. Before we wrap U, we like to ask our guests just a short question. So wanted to know I’d like you mentioned the beginning, music is a big part of your life. It was a big part of your life. Who are your top three musicians that you like listening to or kind of influenced your style?
Louis Gavin 35:33
I’m first and foremost a bass player. So Marcus Miller. All the classic bass players and I grew up in a musical home. I grew up with. The father was a jazz musician, so I grew up listening to Coltrane. I grew up listening to Miles Davis. Felonious Monk, Oscar Peterson. I grew up with that, which gave me a great drawback because when I first started to listen to, when I used to go out as a younger kid and listen to music that people thought was good music, I thought to myself, what these people can’t play their instruments. This is not easy. So it took me a while to you know, to grow into popular music. But i listen to a lot of. Yes, and there’s a lot of, I mean it would be, you know, there’s a lot of beautiful, fantastic, young, new groups. Snarky Puppy. You know, scary pockets. All those guys are doing fantastic things I love listening to.
Danny Gavin 36:42
That and 2023 What does that look like for you from a professional perspective? Any cool projects you’re working on? Any goals you have?
Louis Gavin 36:49
You know, I’m working on helping the woman of Afghanistan at the moment. There’s different coalitions of women to try and lobby. Governments in the world to. Take a slightly different attitude towards the ruling class in Afghanistan into at least. Allow girls to go to school. So that’s a project I’m working on. Working through the UK with an associate. And that’s a great challenge and great work to work on and I’m still very involved in telecommunications work with South Africa’s largest telecommunications or Africa’s largest telecommunications during their B2B work. Which is all. Lead generation and digital with a bit of brand building thrown in wonderful and where can listeners learn more about you? I know you’re active on Facebook, but I’m do you like people reaching out on LinkedIn? So at the moment i’m still quite new. I’m only recently out of my mainstream right out of the advertising mainstream and doing my own thing and consulting and writing for my own. Months and still working with some agencies, so at the moment I’m just on LinkedIn as my main point of connection. Hopefully I’m soon putting up a website with some of my work and some of the classic work that I’ve done over there over the years. And where I can tell a bit of a story. About my experience, Louis.
Louis Gavin 38:35
Thank you for being a guest on the digital marketing mentor and thank you listeners for tuning into the digital marketing mentor. Talk to you next time.
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