The devil’s not in the detail; he is in retail

Ramsey Naja

The point of purchase is where judgement day awaits, says the author.

As you emerged from the holiday season, brushed off the bits of turkey hanging on your clothes and tried to figure out what to remove from that stupidly optimistic new year resolutions list, there is one thing that should have hit you in the face the moment you returned to your desk: yup it’s the new buzzword. And the buzzword is ‘retail’. Now if you already work in the field, you can already skip this to the next article in the mag. For the rest of us lesser mortals, retail is the Wild West, the Knossos Labyrinth or a form of therapy for depressed women.

Personally, I like to think of retail as the new digital. Not stricty as a discipline, but as the arena in which creative agencies are now pumping all their efforts. The reason is quite obvious: the closer and more intimate our conversation with consumers, the more urgent the need for, erm, consuming it. More to the point, we are in an age where the whole marketing process is on amphetamines, and the quicker that corporate or brand ad leads you to the supermarket checkout, the better the CMO’s quality of sleep and, consequently, that of the next day meeting with their team.

In other words, the devil’s not in the detail, he is in retail, and you ignore that at your own peril. Such is the importance given to the discipline today, and, most importantly, the fact that it lends itself so perfectly to content, new technologies, not to mention the digital arena, that I could easily predict a day when all advertising will be reduced to branded entertainment with retail options.

This means that, just as traditional advertising had to embrace digital as its own, today retail is standing there with open arms asking us for hugs. And hug it we should, for retail is not just any buzzword, it is ultimately the end result of all our efforts and the place where judgement day awaits. The moment we make it our friend is the moment everything we do is worthwhile. In fact, that’s why it is often referred to as the moment of truth.

(The author is Ramsey Naja, chief creative officer, JWT MEA. This article appears in the issue of Campaign Middle East dated 25 January 2015.)



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