Donald Trump: the industry speaks

Donald Trump

With concern growing among some business leaders over the economic and social policies being pursued by Donald Trump, Dean Carroll asked media and marketing industry luminaries across the Asia-Pacific region for their views on the new United States president. What he uncovered was a mixture of hope and despair.

stephen-li-pic-3“What is happening with the Trump/Bannon nexus is both disturbing and destabilising; and will inevitably have a negative impact on both trade and consumer confidence. However, while they seek to marginalise mainstream media in favour of the Breitbart interpretation, what they are instead doing is rallying and unifying right-minded people behind media voices which are more crucial than ever.

“This is leading to greater consumption of media than we have seen in a long time and only bodes well for our desire to seek opinion and be informed.” 

Stephen Li, OMD Asia Pacific CEO

“Xenophobic and racist policies are always an abhorrent step for any society. And for our industry which should seek to celebrate freedom, diversity and inclusion this is not an environment that will easily foster growth and creativity. But perhaps the biggest issue is that over 60 million people voted for Trump’s narcissistic policies and 17 million people voted for Brexit.

Matthew Godfrey“Whether we agree with it or not, this is a major rejection of the political establishment in providing a future for large segments of the nation. However, regardless of the failures of the system, the solution to the problem cannot be to build fractured isolationist economies.

“If politicians cannot articulate and deliver a vision for a united and connected future that is truly compelling then brands may need to fill the void and to find a positive true north for society to replace this growing and damaging dogma. Some already are. More will be needed.”

Matthew Godfrey , Y&R Asia president

“‘Say what you’re thinking’ government makes for a very uncertain world but when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. Asia is no exception. For now, most clients seem to be mildly optimistic about 2017 at least from a commercial point of view. I am not sure anyone knows what to think politically – other than the obvious..

“From a brand point of view, there is a three-way conflict driven by whats happening in America; speak about it openly and risk looking shallow, and tactical. Come out against misogyny, bigotry and exclusion and you run the risk of looking shallow and tactical. Ignore it all and you’re passively supporting it.

“Brands who have invested properly in building their true niche in the minds and souls of their consumers have to be on guard for a rainy day. Well, that rainy day is here and it is my hope that brands retain their true sense of self, independence and objectivity, and do things that support their consumers in every positive way possible. More now than ever.

“In times of uncertainty and turbulence, you need things you can rely on and trust. For this reason, brands should avoid the political debate (witness Uber and Under Armour) and use their presence to have a point of view but only when asked.”

David Mayo, Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific group CMO

“The only reason Trump gets so much airtime is his comments create news/entertainment for media brands that rely on advertising to exist. The only reason fake news exists and gets circulated is that it creates more eyeballs than boring old accurate news – and therefore more advertising dollars.adam-ferrier-pic

“To anyone who has a voice or influence in our industry, please consider your contribution to Trump’s ascendency. Now is the time to reflect on how we can have a healthy advertising and media industry. One that does not need negative, alarmist, popularist and fake news, and entertainment, to survive.”

Adam Ferrier, Cummins&Partners (Australia) global chief strategy officer

“No-one is sure how this will play out over the longer term. Trump has no political or legislative history and he is making aggressive decisions thick and fast, which are changing social and political dynamics. This is causing some economic uncertainty in the short-term but only in certain quarters. The global picture is still good. But for how long?  

“It will be interesting as borders go up and protectionist policy is hammered in to see the impact on international business and consumers buying from American brands, particularly from the likes of Mexico – an important trading partner. The concern within the US is that it’s economy is based on bringing the best talent into the country to help grow and lead industries.james-wright-pic

“They lose this. They lose competitive advantage. Lose competitive advantage and you hurt the home and the wallet, which in turn hurts everyone – including the marketing industry. Trump is in danger of taking the ‘Land of the Free’ to the ‘Land of the Me’.

“Is he making calls that are best for the many or just a few, or even just for him, in order to make his mark? We will know more in the next couple of months when we see if all of this is counter-productive. But with anything, there will also be winners. I imagine many other countries will be looking to attract US trading partners and also the talent that now can’t access those shores as easily, which should be good for marketers in those countries.  

“For marketing, when the world has big change and economic challenges, we step up. This is when we see the power of great creativity come to the fore and we capture imagination.”

James Wright, Red Agency Australia CEO and Havas Australia creative group COO


“Our industry has more work to do with gender and cultural diversity. Further we operate in a global industry, which in Australia suffers from a skills shortage.

“We therefore need to encourage governments to have open borders and policies that encourage diversity.”

Chris Nolan, Publicis Media Australia & New Zealand COO

“In Australia this week, economists have stated that there is no need to panic about president’s Trump’s election. As a nation, our real focus is on China and the rest of Asia, at least from a trading perspective.

“In terms of what his reign means for the marketing industry, it would be premature to suggest anything other than I believe the nature of our work will change. I work in public relations – the discipline of explaining, communicating and helping organisations influence the people who are important to them. In my world, it’s  always been about authenticity and honesty.  kieran-moore

“In an ‘alternative fact’ world the focus on proof, sources, real news and the integrity of spokespeople has never been more important. People are craving the truth. We have to ensure that we give it to them and give it to them first time and every time.”

Kieran Moore, Ogilvy Public Relations Australia CEO


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