Eugene Marais and the Soul of the Media Ant!

I was recently asked by a leading industry journal, what is the one thing I would do that would really make a difference to the media industry in Mzansi.

On reflection, I would make it compulsory for everyone in media … agencies, advertisers and media-owners alike … not only to read Eugene Marais’ classic work The Soul of the White Ant but to pass a practical exam!  

The various media industry sectors’ growing desire to “go it alone” with respect to the financing of SAARF, shows a lack of appreciation for their mutual interdependence and their shared responsibility for a healthy business eco-system.

Everybody wants a slice of the AMPS cake but the industry is staring famine in the face because nobody can agree on the size of the slices and who gets the first bite.

Advertisers demand better quality people in their agency but agencies won’t gear because those same advertisers have slashed agency margins to bits. And because agencies are desperate for new revenue streams, unscrupulous media owners step into the gap by offering confidential discounts to agencies to make up the difference! And because the cake isn’t getting any bigger, those same advertisers, who invited everybody to the birthday party in the first place, want to know from media owners why media costs are increasing!

And of course nobody trains the next generation because training costs come off the bottom line and the shareholders demand their slice of the cake before we’ve even finished baking it.

So, with apologies to Eugene Marais …

So the hope arises that there is some purpose in the media industry (nature) whose guiding principle is a psyche similar but infinitely more developed than the soul of the primate.

But sadly, I doubt it! When you pay peanuts, unfortunately, you invariably get monkeys!

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