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Doug Porter, EVP, Leo Burnett Advertising
Wednesday, February 20, 2002 from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. EST

<dcporter> Hi - this is Doug Porter in Chicago - we might be a few minutes before our official start time - but there has to be some benefit to being early - so ask away! And thanks for joining us today!
<dcporter> As a little background, I lead our efforts on McDonald's here at Leo Burnett - which involves all the Youth business in the United States as well as about 25 countries around the world. In addition to McD's I work on Hallmark, Toys R Us and Crayola - been here about 16 years - but those are my responsibilities today.
<dcporter> Can anybody let me know where they are from and what their interests are?
<amy> hi Mr. Porter! In global advertising which country has the toughest rules/regulations to adhere to and why?
<dcporter> Amy - (and please call me Doug!) good question - don't know that there are any simple answers because each country at times feels like they have the toughest ones. But I believe the hardest is around rules regarding advertising to children. Basically, all the rules say "you can't be deceptive or misleading to kids" and have to be sensitive to their cognitive abilities - how that is interpreted is the tricky part.
<Amy> Working on Crayola you must have some obstacles regarding children's regs......What country is the easiest?
<dcporter> I hesitate to answer that because if they ever know that we think they are easy some regulators will move in. But in general, there are a lot of developing countries that have very few rules or regulations about business in general (the legal systems aren't developed in contrast to ours here in the US) and they tend to be a bit more freewheeling (re: competitive, substantiated claims, etc.).
<cotese> I will be graduating in May 2002 with a BS in Management and a concentration in Marketing. What types of career options are available for someone with this type of experience?
<dcporter> Cotese - I really think they are quite numerous - I assume that you also have a number of core courses that give you some broad exposure to Liberal Arts thinking also. Certainly the field of Marketing and Advertising is open (though admittedly jobs are tougher to come by today). I think it goes well beyond what you course work or major was - really take an inventory of your skill set and interest. <tom_a> What are the main differences you see between "Global" and "International" advertising?
<dcporter> Tom - when we use global, we mean the entire world - when we use international - we mean those countries outside the US. I think the better word today is global - it keeps us away from an "us" vs. "them" mentality. Global is more inclusive with regards to country of origin - the anti-American theme is pretty strong out there today and we must be aware of it.
<kathyd> Do you feel that kids get advertising and are able to understand more than we give them credit for?
<dcporter> Kathy - Most definitely agree with you - kids get it today a lot quicker than we recognize. There is a phenomenon going on that we call KGOY (kids getting older younger). It means that today, kids at 5 really are experiencing and understanding things that we might have when we were 7 or 8 (okay I'm 45!). That has to do with the pace of our lives, technology and just "generational gains". We must keep in touch with kids to ensure we see it from THEIR perspective.
<kathyd> Do you find it difficult dealing with the anti-American sentiments working on a American icon such as McDonald's?
<Amy> Thanks Doug...:)...Now regarding Hallmark, we in the US have sappy spots, they are really touching being that we are an emotional society, perhaps dramatic, would you use the same tactics/spots in other countries as you would in the US for Hallmark?
<dcporter> Amy - I think the core positioning of Hallmark will be the same (though we don't handle international work for them) because at their very core they are about communicating emotions. Now what those emotions are and how they come about (what events trigger them, etc.) it might be very different. For example, look at how different cultures treat marriages - some are "arranged" and some are like this country.
<tom_a> Doug, I can understand how advertising works on a global level, but how does someone in your position manage across different countries with different languages, cultures, etc.?
<dcporter> Tom - good one - the one way I can't tell you is that you don't do it sitting in Chicago "thinking" that you are a global expert - it just doesn't (and shouldn't) work that way. You must have effective organizations in each place that you do business that understand the organization's objectives and are able to translate them into effective strategies and tactics.
<dcporter> You have to give people the knowledge and tools to translate those objectives into effective programs . . for instance we (on McDonald's) certainly want to develop our family & kids business - but we might go about that differently in China than the US which is a very "mature and developed " market.
<Amy> Thanks...what about Mickey D's, are the spots the same in the US as they are in EURO or Japan?
<dcporter> Amy - No way! They get at the same core "business drivers" (those things that compel people to go to McD's (family& kid's experience, value, taste of the food, etc.) but they are 95% locally concepted and executed. There may be a few spots which go across a particular region - but really none that travel globally.
<kathyd> Thanks Doug! If you had the choice of any account to work on, what would it be?
<dcporter> Kathy D - what a set up - actually I love McD's (and I mean it) - I love it because of the challenge because it incorporates 3 key things 1) the opportunity to build the brand through great image work that connects emotionally . . .
<dcporter> 2) because it involves a retail component that must compel the consumer to go today (price, product promotion, Happy Meal toys, food specials, etc. and 3) the chance to actually shape the restaurant design, menu, service policies - because at the end of the day that is what gets consumers to keep coming back. All 3 are tough to find in a lot of "packaged goods" and other brands.
<Amy> What about in the US does NYC get the same as CA?
<dcporter> Amy - About 50% of what California and NYC see are about the same - (network advertisements, national print books) - the other 50% is driven by the local co-ops (that group of franchisees) that get together and decide on a price message, a particular food offering (for example brats are big here in Chicago while the Lobster sandwich gets a lot of play in New England every summer).
<tom_a> Doug, since you've been in the role of globally directing advertising, what trends have you seen and what do you see on the horizon?
<dcporter> Tom - I think one of the things that is interesting is to see the maturation of a particular brand in a given culture. For example, again McDonald's is a very mature brand in the US - but to go outside of the US there is still a lot of development work to do. For instance, I was just in South Africa where we are just opening the restaurant for breakfast. . .
<dcporter> . . .now breakfast in that country is a bit different and so our service offering and how we advertise it is very different. We must fundamentally change some of the culture there to get people to eat out of their homes for breakfast, where in this country it is very much a market share game because that "trend" is ingrained in the culture. On the other hand, we have breakfast in China, but it is the same menu (pretty much) as lunch.
<kathyd> What do you think is the best mindset to have when approaching global advertising?
<dcporter> Kathy D - Don't have a lot of preconceived notions - understand their culture and desires and make your offering relevant - make the advertising compelling to them from THEIR perspective - don't ASSUME anything!
<Amy> Thanks, good to know...Is the creative concept the same for the advertisers/agency/creative for a brand?Or does that change as well within countries ..furthermore if the selling the same ideas are you are using the same tactics? How do you know?
<dcporter> Amy - can you try again - don't quite get your question
<dcporter> Ellenovar or mag4mag - are you out there - any thoughts or issues
<ellennovar> Your experience is fascinating. I'm a marketing professor in Ohio and just talked about your S. Africa experience to a student sitting in my office. I'm just along as a voyeur! Thanks.
<Amy> What I am trying to ask is if a brand has an idea-lets use loyalty, for example-will it use the same idea/ 'selling points' worldwide?
<dcporter> Amy - Not necessarily - a lot has to be considered before using the same strategy or tactic to accomplish an objective. Using loyalty as an example - the average child in this country has a happy meal every other week or so - we've built that kind of "loyalty" in many respects using a collectibility strategy for the kids. If you look at our Happy Meals (and Peter Pan is in the restaurants now) there are often 5-8 different toys.
<dcporter> Now on the other hand, take a country that has a much more difficult value situation - McDonald's is really more expensive in their culture and therefore might be more of a special treat. You might build loyalty there through a purchase incentive (coupon) or an added value offering (get such and such for free - like an ice cream cone for kids) if you come back in the next 3 weeks. Do you see the difference in strategy and tactics?
<Amy> Yes, thanks.
<tom_a> Doug, as traditional mass media is diluted and the dot-com advertising popped, where is growth going to occur in the ad industry now and in the years to come?
<dcporter> Tom - I certainly think it will be in the nontraditional areas or what we might call below the line items. For instance, the big three Communications holding companies today (WPP, IPG & Omnicom) almost derive 50% of their revenue from non- traditional sources (internet, promotions, loyalty, events, etc.) and certainly their incremental growth is mainly coming from that area.
<kathyd> What has been your most gratifying experience in advertising?
<dcporter> Kathy - I would have to say the most gratifying has to be when you see tangible results from your efforts and that you know you really made a difference and contributed. The biggest example for me is probably my experience on Luvs diapers (a Procter & Gamble brand) in the late 80's . . .
<dcporter> We got a chance to try a gender specific idea on diapers (you know boys wet in one place, girls another - I'm telling you this isn't rocket science!!) and we almost tripled market share, quadrupled profits and actually changed the whole category - as Pampers and Huggies followed. We innovated and had the two leading brands turned on their heels for a bit (then I moved on!!!!)
<Amy> Seems as if loyal was a good example, being that all three advertisers you work with seem to practice loyalty. Does Crayola have spots in the US?
<dcporter> Amy - Crayola has some fairly limited advertising in the US right now - mainly very targeted stuff to educators, etc. One of their challenges is how to take a category they dominate (crayons) and leverage that trademark and dominance into other similar areas where they have believability and credibility with consumers - did you know they also make silly putty??
<Amy> I own some of their silly putty....
<dcporter> Crayola has a presence in some other key markets globally - but it is heavily concentrated in the US right now. That is another challenge, and certainly an opportunity for growth, but again how children play, what they play with (cost of materials available!) can be very different - it is one of the things that we are learning about now!
<dcporter> Amy - if you like their silly putty -you ought to try their Model Magic!!
<Amy> Crayola has it all.. multi-cultural crayons for kids of all skin tones, that's good stuff to me.
<dcporter> Not only is it good stuff - it is the right thing to do - things like that make a product more meaningful to specific target groups. As markets mature, a brand has to better understand their segmentation (heavy users, vs. light, geographic differences, etc.). Another example of this might be the segmentation of Youth Meals at fast food restaurants in the last few years - at McDonald's it all used to be Happy Meals - now we have Happy Meals and Might Kids.
<kathyd> Doug- do you think that the world has become too advertising "savvy" and has grown away from icons?(such as the Keebler elves or Ronald McDonald)
<Amy> what about Tony the Tiger?
<dcporter> Kathy d - yes I think that people today are more savvy - take a look at the advertising from the 50's and 60's - you can get laughing pretty hard to see some of that. My feeling is that today, it just isn't about advertising, you really have to deliver the essence of the brand and make sure that the product really delivers. For example, I can advertise any thing I want about McD's - but it becomes meaningless (or even harmful to the Brand) if people don't get it.
<dcporter> Amy - don't know about the specific levels of advertising for some of those products, Tony the Tiger specifically (even though we do that at Burnett) - but remember good advertising is targeted. I never see any laundry detergent stuff, but I know it is out there for a lot of reasons - really must consider who they are TRYING to reach.
<tom_a> Doug, I've noticed some advertisers moving away from representing the world in white or black to multicultural advertising that captures the diversity of the world today. Do you have specialists that help with that at Leo Burnett or do you partner with ethnic advertising agencies?
<dcporter> Tom - yes, that certainly is a trend - towards multi-cultural advertising - that could be based on race, lifestyle, sexual orientation , etc. - take a walk down any street in a major (or minor!) city - take a look at the people around you - we really have become that way as a society. I was recently in parts of Texas and then San Diego - for instance, in many of those communities Hispanic are totally dominant.
<moderator> Any final questions for Doug?
<Amy> thank you so much it was a pleasure :)
<cotese> Thank you very much for being available to speak with us today.
<kathyd> I have learned a great deal and will be able to apply it to my professional experience immediately! Thanks Doug! Best Wishes!
<tom_a> Thanks for your afternoon. I learned a lot!
<moderator> Thanks for joining us. The transcript of this discussion will be posted tomorrow.
<dcporter> Thanks to all of you - I really have enjoyed my association with AEF and I hope that it is helpful to you in some capacity whether you are a student, professor, advertising/marketing professional or just an interested observer!

 

 

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