Meet the jury member Rimantas Stanevicius: advertising agencies and influencers are not the best friends

Interview with the Lithuanian advertising legend Rimantas Stanevicius, who is one of the jury members of BalticBest 2022.
Rimantas Stanevicius has been shaping the Lithuanian advertising market for nearly 20 years. “A cocktail of everything” he says. Rimantas went from copywriting at Leo Burnett to becoming the creative director for one of the most awarded agencies in the Baltics (Milk). Today, he stands as the board member of both the Lithuanian Design Association and prestigious ADCE (Art Directors Club of Europe).
How much has Lithuanian advertising scene changed during the years of pandemic?
I think we got used to the pandemic, like people do, normally. You don’t see the panic anymore. It’s just that we are numb now, that’s it!
What about the agency scene? I know that in some countries, the smaller agencies have gone out of business.
I don’t know the exact numbers of who lost clients and market share, but I haven’t registered any scandalous bankruptcies in Lithuania. Nobody is bragging that they grew double digits or anything like that, but I guess we’re just trying to keep our heads above the water and somehow managing it. The scariest months were the first ones in 2020. But now, nobody talks about the pandemic anymore. People just want to get back to normal life.
What’s the status of the clash between performance marketers and creative marketers?
There’s a demand of marrying the two opposites. We have to find peace in numbers and letters, right brain and left brain. If you use only one half, you are half-brained, not living up to your full potential. You need to know both, the numbers and the letters. Actually, I think this conflict is about to deescalate.
How many vacant positions there are in the advertising industry?
It would be an educated guess. It’s really tough to find designers- that’s probably where we lose most people to start-ups, all the tech companies that need the design skills, the ux and ui.
We need to raise a new generation of creatives, maybe even universal ones that can work for both agencies and start-ups. Maybe even ditch the agencies, change them from the root somehow. It’s difficult to get “qualified” people, it’s a bit easier to get “fresh” people. If you need an experienced person for some position, you need to headhunt, probably steal someone from some other place.
What would be your advice to youngsters starting a career in advertising? What would be the skills they need the most?
I’d be cautious giving such advice. Not having any specialty may be a drawback and may prevent you from actually getting a job because when you get in and say “I can do anything but nothing you do is exceptionally good”- that’s bad. But having only that speciality limits you as well. Being a quick learner is what I’d suggest. To know something, but being a quick learner so you can broaden your knowledge fast.
Do you see major structural changes in agencies in order to meet the demands of the new economy, the start-ups, who tend to complain about the traditional agency system being too slow for them?
The change is slow and painful. We’ve been hearing about the digital transformation of the agencies for over a decade now, I guess. But in reality, we only have a few examples and even those examples may be romanticized. The change is slow and when you are inside the agency, it may be difficult to notice that this even takes place. But it’s definitely there.
I think you still need the structure, you still need the process, but you need to be more flexible and agile with it – but you cannot change the order of the steps needed to execute the marketing activities. You can maybe make these steps faster or you can see if you fail, go back and repeat the whole sequence again.
But some people use the words “digitalisation” and “changing world” just as an excuse for chaos. I have heard the statements like “we will be doing everything with no brief, no process, very fast, and will be repeating it many times until you are satisfied”
I don’t think such approach will be sustainable.
What about the influencer marketing? Is it a new cool thing?
Looking at the influencer agencies, seeing them surviving and thriving- I guess it has to be working, at least giving an illusion of working. Because of the specialization, we don’t get to do a lot of influencer marketing in Milk unless there’s a lucky coincidence, usually this is taken care of by a specialized influencer agency.
You, as an agency, must have your own creative team but then you have to hire an additional freelancer to do the creative work so your creative team can just look at the freelancer doing the creative work and the freelancer is getting famous and the next time you’ll have to pay more.
I can see how we can become friends and find more overlapping areas with the performance marketers. But with influencers, not so much. Influencers are independent content creators.
Our aim is to make a good ad without building the brand of the influencer.
Submission deadline: 10.08.2022
Shortlist published: 19.08.2022
Live judging and awards announced: 24.08.2022