Interview: Ad Mogul Kevin Roberts Talks About Exploring Colombia, Lovemarks & The Coming Death of Agencies
Finance Colombia’s Executive Editor Loren Moss was fortunate enough to sit down with Kevin Roberts when he was in Colombia for the WOBI World Leadership Forum last month. Kevin is the former chairman of global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi where he invented the Lovemarks marketing concept, intended to evolve beyond the traditional concept of branding. Kevin now runs Red Rose Consulting where he offers counsel and coaching on leadership, marketing & creative thinking.
Roberts shares some provocative thoughts on the death of traditional media and the rise of new media; and how that goes hand-in-hand with the death of traditional advertising agencies and the rise of the new creative.
Finance Colombia: Welcome to Colombia, welcome to Medellin. Is this your first time here?
Kevin Roberts: It’s my second time in Colombia, first time here (in Medellín).
Finance Colombia: Great, tell me about your first time, where did you go?
Kevin Roberts: Bogota
I want to spend more time here because I think this city, Medellin seems on the move.
Finance Colombia: It’s like a whole different country, from one city to another isn’t it? You were in Cartagena yesterday, right?
Kevin Roberts: Cartagena, of course. I never left the whole town for 4 days, I stayed, I drank in every sight and sound, I ate everything, and saw some great places, met some great people, I found this great little place called the Casa San Agustin, (see map below) terrific. I would bike out every day. And I liked it. Bogota, when I went there, a few years ago, it was very different, I think, I’m coming back in January, but I want to spend more time here because I think this city, Medellin seems on the move.
Finance Colombia: It is, it’s like the Silicon Valley of South America. One of the things that fascinates me in Colombia is that every city is like a different country. It is like the difference between New York and Los Angeles.
Kevin Roberts: Where are you from?
Finance Colombia: I’m from Columbus Ohio, in The States. I’ve been here for 6 years, but still, every day I learn something. So, we are publishers. I publish three different publications, only one is focused on Colombia, the other ones focus on financial back office processing (FinanceAmericas) and there’s one that’s one about technology (Cognitive Business News), but I publish Finance Colombia, which is the only English language publication focused on Colombia’s financial sector.
Kevin Roberts: And on what media? Online or physical?
“I think the world of agencies, the way agencies function would disappear” – Kevin Roberts
Finance Colombia: It’s all digital because if I mail a printed magazine to London, it’s no longer news when it arrives, it’s history. It’s interesting because it seems like people that are older than me still take print publications, but people that are 20 or 30 or 40 years old, they consume media digitally.
Kevin Roberts: I take all my newspapers online, right? So I take the New York Times, The Times, the Daily Mail, The New Zealand Herald, but I take my magazines physically, because I’m not interested in the news, it’s not news then, I’m still interested in editorial content and I’m still interested in quality reporting so for instance, and I like the touch of the paper, I like the photography, so I’d still get Condé Nast Traveller,