Challenger brands

Kirk Gainsford

If you could measure beige, you will find it is still beige.

We are obsessed about measuring everything in our industry. Measurements and data inform almost everything we do. We are so obsessed about data that we are more interested in the measurement results, than we are in how effectively we are talking to our customers. We know everything there is to know about everything, and when we aren’t satisfied, we test and research more. Because we believe he who knows more is better. But Albert Einstein once said: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

For years I have believed that our industry is losing its way. We focus on everything except what is important. Agencies and marketers have learned new tools, new jargon and new methodologies that make us all sound so much smarter, but do not improve what we do. What’s more, we have forgotten the principles and practices that make us indispensable. Creativity and imagination.

I am delighted to announce that Lowe, our agency group, recently merged with an American agency, Mullen, who have long shared this view with us. We are not interested in sounding smart in meetings. We are only interested in creating communication that touches the hearts of people.

MullenLowe is determined to understand technology, not because it is cool, but because when used properly, it is powerful.  We believe in creativity, not charts and numbers. We collaborate. There are no silos, no corporate structures. We are not precious.  We are entrepreneurial. We challenge our clients, we challenge ourselves and each other. We believe that brands should behave like challenger brands whether they are the market leaders or not, because if you’re number one, and you aren’t behaving like a challenger, you only have one place to go, and that’s to number two.

We believe in asking questions, in tackling the task and not just the brief. We listen. We fight harder for what is right.  We study the data; yes we do. We study the data to understand it the way a photographer understands his camera. Not to explain how his camera works, but to make better pictures.

The data would suggest this is still the right way to do what we do. The numbers speak for themselves. We are the most effective agency network per client dollars spent for the past five years.  (As per Effies results).

By Kirk Gainsford, chief creative officer, MullenLowe South Africa


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