It’s all over for marketing Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts tells MIDEM delegates

Gosh this is a bit worrying, coming from one of adland’s foremost optimists Kevin Roberts, worldwide boss of Saatchi & Saatchi and inventor of ‘Lovemarks.’

But fear not, Kevin thinks we’re moving into a new stage, away from ‘interruption’ to ‘interaction.’

Roberts, along with a gaggle of other adland executives, has been speaking at the MIDEM music fest in Cannes.

“Marketing is dead,” he said in his opening keynote speech at Debussy Auditorium. “We have got a much higher calling now. Your role is not to market stuff at people, but to create a movement. You’ve got to create a movement and inspire people to join your movement, whether that’s an artist or a venue…We’ve moved from interruption to interaction.”

More suggestions from Roberts included the proposed substitution of ‘return on involvement’ for ROI, the substitution of his very own ‘Lovemarks’ for brands (the subject of his book Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands, published in 2004) and an assertion that the future of advertising could be summed up as ‘VUCA.’

VUCA, said Roberts, can mean one of two things: Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous, or Vibrant Unreal Crazy and Astounding.

Roberts also highlighted the importance of music (reasonably enough, considering where he was), saying: “We’re using music now in every way, shape or form. We’re innovating, working with startups, having writers write, having artists approach us, directors approach us, big stars wanting to do stuff for us.”

Saatchi & Saatchi London recently hired former Radio One boss Andy Parfitt as head of talent. The Saatchi network also invests heavily in promoting new talent, most notably via the New Director’s Showcase every year at Cannes and currently touring China.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.