Olga Glukhova: ‘Games are new social media, it is a community’
The founder and director of VIVAT advertising agency about new trends of the ad market and much more
“Cybersport is a story for clients and lads who don’t want to miss the next communication environment in the near future,” says Olga Glukhova, founder and director of VIVAT advertising agency, after her business trip to Argentina. In an op-ed column for Realnoe Vremya, the expert talks about trends in the ad market in Latin America, virtual communities and cases with ChatGPT bot.
“The market of Latin America is very close to us from a perspective of mentality and spirit”
I returned from a business trip to Buenos Aires in March. It was my 13th business trip to advertising capitals of the world. From 2014 to 2022, I visited 12 countries and did internships in more than 120 biggest global advertising agencies. The route had Japan, Singapore, China, Korea, the US (San Francisco and New York), Germany, Holland, Israel, Hong Kong, the UAE and Turkey.
In Argentina, we talked with colleagues in the ad industry and visited 16 key advertising agencies in Latin America. Why did I have to fly so far? I am a member of a partner advertising network in Russia. And from time to time we gather for networking in different countries of the world and do internships in advertising agencies. We pump our visual experience and creative muscles up.
So, Argentina. We perfectly imagined we were going to a developing country. We didn’t expect any insights about their progress and innovations. Some of us rather wanted philosophic answers to their questions. After all, the market of Latin America is very close to us from a perspective of mentality and spirit.
We were given lessons and advice not only on how to survive and not sink in a storm but also on how to gain speed and be stronger. For instance, how to live with 100% annual inflation and many other pieces of advice from old hands.
They are really like us. Their peso fell twice in 2017 like our ruble that collapsed in 2014. People lost their savings and everybody felt the crisis, including the advertising market. And they became unattractive for foreign companies because of the low value of the peso against the dollar. This also gave an impetus to the development of production and digital companies.
Buenos Aires is a hub for Latin America because it is cheap. We are very close to each other, including in our attitude to life. We have a saying: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” They also have one with a similar meaning: “A surgeon in Buenos Aires can do surgery without instruments.” We have experience too, this is why it was more interesting to talk.
“The key insights are the creation of different alliances, groups of agencies, partnership networks that at the same time don’t depend on each other”
Latin America is a huge market of countries, it is technologies and the latest trends in the promotion. But first things first. The key insights are the creation of different alliances, groups of agencies, partnership networks that at the same time don’t depend on each other. What for? To expand the production line of your services and do any tasks for clients with the help of a partnership network. An alliance is a model when the best specialists from different agencies of the alliance are attracted for a client’s task. And then the dream team is created for the client. What else can a client wish?
The correct thought was heard: “Don’t do what you aren’t perfect at. As soon as you start doing something you aren’t the best at, the area you are the best at starts to fall behind and there is a risk of losses.”
A company can expand to other regions with alliances and unions. Here it is not only an advertising business. Do you want to become larger? A franchise can be created. One’s business can be honed from a perspective of branding, sales funnel, self-promo and the same but a small company can be purchased in a neighbouring region. For instance, colleagues found a small company in Chile — the agency’s copy — and offered a partnership. As a result, they created an umbrella of the brand in Chile and entered Chile on their own.
“A new concept of influencers — influgamer — is a leader of opinion in cybersport. The future lies with it”
There was an interesting talk about cybersport. There is a large-scale shift in the communications market around the world, and it is necessary to look in this direction. 20 million out of 45 million of Argentina’s population play computer games, for example. It is half of the playing population, moreover, they aren’t children. People above 50 years account for a big share of it.
Games are new social media, it is a community. Brands use this in marketing and PR — virtual communities for their own clients with new communication channels are created. This is a new communication channel.
New jobs are created in the gaming industry and the state provides support. A new educational programme to train specialists for gamers is launched together with universities. It is coaches, cybercoaches, cyberpsychologists, discord marketing managers, team-building specialists, etc. A new concept of influencers — influgamer — is a leader of opinion in cybersport. The future lies with it.
“The main idea is here that the brand cares about its consumers during turbulence”
When people look for ways of withstanding the storm, the social activity of brands towards their consumers becomes especially crucial. The social area was also often heard:
- Eco-friendliness. For instance, recycling outdoor ad banners into household products (I remembered our RIM company and their bags from recycled banners with pleasure).
- 30% energy saving on switching off “unnecessary” pixels during the display of outdoor advertising.
- Big brands’ work with different classes of population (orphans, people from the slums) by creating NGOs as a separate subdivision of the company and offering master classes for them by selling products later, opening schools for the poor.
The main idea here is that the brand cares about its consumers during turbulence. The turbulence helps to avoid mistakes when launching a product and completely new products of the company can be a result. Here is an example: a social bank was created for favela residents (people living in the slums in Buenos Aires whose number is huge) after surveys. The idea of the product is official and reliable mutual help between neighbours: “To borrow from the neighbour till the payday.”
On the other hand, there appeared another opinion here that rivals’ surveys for the client in marketing lead to a situation where the client has to catch up with the rivals looking back at them. And then he turns out to be a priority in a position of the one being late, not going ahead.
“A riot of machines isn’t expected yet”
ChatGPT bot and AI are another topic. We have been long in shock ourselves and anxious because of the capabilities of artificial intelligence. Even in fear of its capabilities. We had been told about this a lot during other business trips.
I recently read that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, philanthropist Andrew Yang and about a thousand AI researchers wrote an open letter calling for “immediately stop” AI system training, “more powerful than GPT-4” unless general security protocols were created and verified by independent experts. The letter spells out the potential risks of competitive artificial intelligence systems such as economic and political turmoil for society and civilisation. Big AI labs haven’t yet replied.
So the lads talked about their cases, how they developed a platform using ChatGPT bot. It can do everything. For instance, a media plan is created, all creative ideas, drafts and texts are generated by AI.
It is shocking — they obtained results of testing of a real estate promotion media plan with the help of AI. They spent $20,000. They received $525,000 in sales, the lead price was $2.5. It is a shock! For instance, a website fully developed by AI skyrocketed in search engines during the first two weeks but then was blocked by Google — “not living” developers were detected. A riot of machines isn’t expected yet.
Advertisers’ desire to calculate everything is another theme... About performance... Both traditional PR and Bigital PR in cybersport aren’t always about KPI. Cybersport is a story for clients and lads who don’t want to miss the next communication environment in the near future. Those who want sales here and now should go to performance (it also seemed to be something strange and scary 25 years ago, and now it is a norm of life).
“It is no surprise that all creativity directors of big chain agencies in Latin America are from Argentina”
Argentina is a real paradise for creativity workers. There are a lot of amazing cases and creative ideas here that surprise with their unpredictability and extraordinary nature. It is no surprise that all creativity directors of big chain agencies in Latin America are from Argentina. We learnt a lot about digital PR technologies and opportunities. It was very useful and allowed us to expand our knowledge in this area.
Thank you, Argentina, for your hospitality and lessons. Here are some quotes we saw on office walls of big advertising agencies:
“Go big or go home!”
“When you want to achieve your collective goals you simply can’t carry people who don’t care.”
The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of Realnoe Vremya’s editorial board.