Martin Dimitrov is the founder and Creative Director of Nitram and one of the popular personas in Bulgarian advertising. A man with many stories and lots of opinions, his articles on various topics can be regularly spotted on the pages of L'Europeo and Capital, and in dozens other places. In this interview we asked him about the future of advertising in Bulgaria.
Hello Martin! Let's start from the hot topic. What do you think will be the impact of the crisis on the agencies' work models and will they have to change a lot?
Agencies whose business model is built on creativity are unlikely to change much. The truth is that good ideas and good creative solutions are always sought. Yes, sometimes ideas cost more, other times less. But creativity has always been a very stable currency.
There will be a significant change in those companies that in the recent years have tried to replace creativity with something else - for example, with "full integrated data drive strategies", or whatever buzz-word they used at the time. This is not a bad thing, but it only works when it's based on good creative ideas. If you don't have a good idea in the base, you can't turn any strategy around it - that's the truth.
I believe there will be changes in the media agencies as well.
Otherwise, we will work more and more from home - we had to try it, we tried it and saw that it works.
Even with children. You have a 14-year-old daughter. What is it to work from home with a teenager?
It's wonderful. The teenager is a grown-up. She can make breakfast, or cook fish, make a kefir, and even load the dishwasher after dinner.
Is there anything that happens smoother as a process during the quarantine? Have people become more attentive and do we listen more to each other?
It seems to me that people began to listen to the smarter ones and turned their backs on the empty words of the influencers. I may be mistaken, it may be for a short time. But, it will be great to hear again those who actually have something to say.
More than once you have said that this is the longest historical period without
wars. Can we draw a parallel with today's situation and say that small and med-sized businesses will really struggle for the first time in a very long time?
Entire branches of business will suffer a lot and we are already seeing this. Tourism, travel, shopping malls, car manufacturing - these are all industries that will not recover quickly. Of course, there will be bankruptcies. It always happens in a crisis, regardless of its nature. It will be easier for those who have had focus over the years, have developed what is the strength of their company.
I still cannot give any assessment of the state of small and med-sized businesses after the pandemic. I just don't know what will happen.
Is there anything historically similar to today's crisis and what from the past would help us cope with the current situation? Do people learn from history, actually?
Mankind has experienced more than one pandemic. In scale, this cannot be compared to the plague, nor to the Spanish flu. But COVID-19 has shaken our notion of connectivity - in a few weeks the borders have returned, nations have closed and this will undoubtedly lead to serious social change. In this sense, this pandemic will leave a very serious mark on societies and will provoke - at least in my opinion - serious changes.
And about learning from history:
people say they learn from history, but I don't really know if that's the case. People tend to believe that they will get away with things.
What is the role of an advertising agency in today's situation?
The role of agencies is to help their clients better understand the situation. And, of course, to support them adequately in dealing with the difficult.
Can we be more united as an industry?
Of course we can. It will be great if we unite around developing good ideas to support the business of our customers, and to support the people in the business. Because, uniting over everyday problems, is actually difficult.
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