A "massive deficit" of brand building is dragging down the economy, according to Irwin Gotlieb, global chairman of GroupM.
When the history books get written on the last 15 years, Irwin told me in a video interview for his induction into the Advertising Hall of Fame, "I think they will say that the lack of brand building, the lack of effort on long-term marketing, destroyed and damaged more brand value than anyone can add up."
Every client, Irwin said, is suffering from what his boss, WPP's Martin Sorrell, coined as "short-termism." Every client has to make the next quarterly report. "When you become more focused on the short term than the long term, you need to narrow your marketing funnel because that's where long-term effect happens. You focus on short-term ROI, and brand building doesn't give you short-term return, it gives you long-term return."
Irwin is an endless supply of provocative opinions and observations about the state of today's ad business, and like others I've interviewed lately, he has decidedly mixed feelings about what lies ahead. Irwin was born in China, migrated to Israel, spent his formative years in Japan and arrived in the U.S. as a 15-year-old in 1965 "at a time when the United States fundamentally thought like an island."
Watch the full interview.