Fromowitz settles in

Getting settled in a new job is the easy part of returning to Canada for Michael Fromowitz.The new senior vice-president executive director of McCann-Erickson says the big adjustment, after nearly 10 years in Asia, is coming home to changes in the...

Getting settled in a new job is the easy part of returning to Canada for Michael Fromowitz.

The new senior vice-president executive director of McCann-Erickson says the big adjustment, after nearly 10 years in Asia, is coming home to changes in the Canadian marketplace, such as the growth and acceptance of store brands.

Fromowitz says he still believes consumers want a choice.

He says even though retail brands are priced below national, they are still brands, and will have to be advertised to be moved off the shelf like any other, especially as products such as Loblaws’ President’s Choice are introduced into the u.s. and Asia.

Today, although many markets such as Asia have not completely caught up to North America, Fromowitz says the consumer in Asia wants all the same things that consumers here want but they want more – and they want it faster and better.

He says Asian consumers are even more brand-conscious than North Americans and want to be associated with top brands in everything from the cars they drive to the labels on the outside of their clothing.

They want the lifestyle they see in the West and that is why global branding is now viable when it was not 10 years ago.

‘If Coke is going to advertise here, they can more or less do some of the same kind of advertising over there because the needs, wants and desires have come closer and closer together,’ Fromowitz says. ‘Campaigns can travel.’

He sees a return to advertising basics happening in the industry.

‘Consumer and client needs have changed,’ Fromowitz says. ‘Advertising budgets have been reduced and there are fewer levels of management at both the client and agency.

‘People can’t be just writers or art directors anymore,’ he says. ‘They need to be advertising people again, and know as much about the entire process as possible.

‘It’s time to dust off the old copies of David Ogilvy’s books on advertising.’

Relationships

Fromowitz says strategic planning and close working relationships between creative, account and media departments are more important than ever.

‘Putting down words and pictures is easy,’ he says. ‘What’s hard is deciding what it’s going to be.’

But don’t expect a shakeup of the McCann-Erickson creative department.

Fromowitz says the agency ‘has great creative people. Real pros, like Terry Iles, and lots of other senior people who will not accept people coming in and changing things.

Red flag goes up

‘Usually when a new creative guy walks in the door, the red flag goes up,’ he says. [They are thinking,] `What’s he going to do, bring his buddies in?’ ‘

The only changes Fromowitz expects to make is to add more top creative people to the team.

He calls it an ‘evolution, rather than a revolution’ and sees his role as a catalyst – someone to keep the pride, passion and excitement for the job alive.

Fromowitz, winner of 500 national and international creative awards, has replaced Joan McArthur, who left McCann-Erickson last November.

For the last three years, he was regional creative director for Backer Spielvogel Bates, and for the six years before that was chairman and creative director of the Ball WCRS Partnership.

Before moving to Hong Kong, Fromowitz spent 14 years working in Toronto with Scali McCabe Sloves, Foote Cone Belding, MacLaren and J. Walter Thompson.