Lucy Povlsen

Head of Communications, Content & Community

The rise of retail media presents brands and their creative agency partners the opportunity to surprise consumers with the unexpected and win them over, says Dentsu Creative Chief Creative Officer Mandie van der Merwe.

Van der merwe was speaking on an industry panel last week, Unmade Media’s RE:MADE: Retail Media, about the creative opportunities the rise of retail media offers brands.  Retail media is advertising infrastructure owned by a retail company offered to third-party brands for advertising.

Key learnings:

  1. Creatives have an opportunity to produce unexpected work in the retail environment
  2. Retailers should ensure the creative team have information on where the work will live to help it be the best it can be
  3. Brands can win in retail media if they take a fresh creative approach

She was optimistic about what the new mediums can mean for creative teams across the country, saying “we’re in this space where there’s a lot of cool things that’s not been made and not been thought of”.

“It’s very, very difficult in above the line, big brand ads to do something new that people say ‘oh my goodness, I wasn’t expecting that’,” she explained.

“But I think in this space, brands can really win if they take a fresh, and maybe even a little bit of a risky, approach, as opposed to just taking what you’ve been given.”

Speaking on the panel, van der merwe reminded marketers and creatives that the idea there is no room for creativity in retail is untrue.

“I always point out the first time I got shortlisted for Cannes online, it was a retail ad and I had $500 to produce it,” she quipped.

“It’s what you do with a space and how smart you are but it takes dedication and motivation to try and fit things into little spaces that aren’t always wanting to be creative. It’s also about challenging yourself as creatives to ask what can I do with this space that is disruptive? Wherever people don't expect creativity, it can be at its most powerful because it is so unexpected.”

She reminded creatives to think about where the work is appearing, how does it drive a consumer on their journey, also urging marketers and brand owners to make sure they are using their own data to help the creatives nail the brief.

“You know your customer, you know where they are on their journey, you potentially have some location data, you can personalise things, make it a little bit interesting,” she said.

“It's very hard to create or to be creative if you don't actually know where your work is going to sit in that retail environment.”