Rajna Cuculić is a great advocate of tech and AI in media planning. She says she can’t wait the day when the machines will reign supreme over media industry, and yet she believes even then she will not lose her job

Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian

By: Ekrem Dupanović

Although I announced that I was about to quit writing the Diary a month ago, I decided to write it from time to time. This is not to be taken as a sign of my inconsistency and lack of resolve to stick to my own decisions. It’s simply about the need to meet the requests of a number of readers who have asked me to continue writing the Diary, among them many people whose opinion I really care about. What specifically encouraged me to continue writing is the email I received from a young reader a couple of days ago. She wrote that my diary was a source of information about people and events in the region. It was a resource from which she could learn what people from the advertising industry think, and about the passion they do this work with.

So, I’ll continue annoying you with my writing, and it’s up to you whether you’ll read it or not. Just don’t click on the title and that’s it. I will write when I really have something to write about, I won’t just chronologically list what I did.

Last week I was in Zagreb for two days, one in Ljubljana and two days in Portorož at SEMPL.

The first business day began with morning coffee in the Esplanade Hotel with Ana Tkalec Verčič, President of the Croatian Public Relations Association (HUOJ). I interviewed Ana on the occasion of HUOJ’s KOMference, which is held today and tomorrow (December 6th and 7th) in Zagreb. You can read the interview here.

We also talked about the support of Media Marketing to HUOJ, which is currently in a rather poor condition. Although Ana, in the interview – probably because of her desire to be respectful toward her predecessors – said that all previous HUOJ Presidents left the Association in a better state than they found it, it seems she wasn’t that fortunate. She took over HUOJ in quite bad shape. She has a lot of plans how to fix stuff. The biggest problem is the lack of money and therefore it is important that the KOMferencija today succeeds and provides money for the realization of several other projects.

The second coffee in the Esplanade was with Krešimir Macan (Manjgura). I did an interview with him as well. I asked him about many things, including why he left the position of advisor to Croatian Prime Minister Plenković, what he’s doing now, and about the status of a PR profession in Croatia and the region. As always, Krešo was a great interlocutor. He told me that when he left for the office of the Prime Minister, he handed over the management of the Manjgura agency to his deputy who did the job well. “When I returned to the agency I asked Katarina (Leko) if she would continue to run the agency, she told me she would. So I was ‘left’ without work, and now I’m thinking what else I could do,” Krešo said laughing.

The rest of the conversation with Krešo will be on the portal soon.

From Esplanade I went to Mali bar, restaurant owned by Ana Ugarković, for lunch with Dunja Ivana Ballon, director of HURA, and her associate Silvija Kovačić. We talked about a range of topics that are important to us. First of all about cooperation on two HURA projects: Days of Communication and BalCannes. I offered to get personally engaged next year in lobbying for a larger number of entries for BalCannes because I think it is very important for creative agencies and clients from across the region. Once again I advocated against online voting, but I’m not sure I was able to convince Dunja that a jury of 25 members is not necessary, and that a smaller jury should be formed, who would judge works in a live session. Every festival is worth as much as its jury, and it is impossible to find 25 people every year who are competent to judge the submitted works. Since BalCannes is a regional feast of creativity, I suggested that the jury meets in a different country each year, as it would be good promotion of the event. If HURA was to accept such proposal, I hereby nominate Sarajevo for the first host of the jury session, and Media Marketing as an organizer with all the obligations that arise from it.

From this lunch I went to Mediacom for a meeting with Rajna Cuculić with whom I arranged an interview. As the media industry is rapidly changing, media planning must follow. New tech is being introduced, AI is entering the scene through the big door. After one-hour talk I can say that I have learned more about media planning and tech from talking with Rajna than in all these years so far.

MediaCom Croatia wins about 30 percent of its new business in international markets, and 70 percent of clients come from the local market, although there are a number of international companies among them. Rajna sovereignly governs her job. She is very critical of the Croatian media market, but believes in the future of advertising. She thinks that the advertising industry is suffering a lot of damage from the pitches that are decided mostly on basis of low prices and discounts. Agencies are damping prices, and media follow their example, which makes everyone lose. She is a great advocate of tech and artificial intelligence in media planning. She says she can hardly wait for the day when machines will completely dominate the media industry and yet she thinks she will still not lose her job. “Human being will always be needed, only in some other role.”

Thanks Rajna for the knowledge you have given me.

My second day in Zagreb started with a meeting with Dubravka Jusić, director of marketing at Agrokor. The situation has stabilized, Agrokor is doing well, advertising budgets from Agrokor are growing. We talked about the cooperation of Media Marketing and Agrokor. We have good cooperation with Konzum and Mercator, and now we would like to extend it to another member of this great business system. It is up to us to suggest forms of cooperation and give ideas. We talked for a long time about HUOJ and the upcoming KOMference. Dubravka was the president of HUOJ and a member of the Supervisory Board in two terms. She is strongly committed to HUOJ and believes in its recovery and further development.

From Agrokor, I go again to the Esplanade for coffee (my God, how much coffee do I drink in a single day) with Kristina Ercegović. She has found publishers in all countries of the region for her great book (I can testify to that) You’re best when you’re you. She’s now looking for a publisher in Bosnia and Herzegovina and I have promised to help. She doesn’t expect some great profits from the publishers, but simply want’s her book to reach as many people as possible, because she believes it can be useful to them.

We also made arrangements for the 50th jubilee Business Cafe that will be held in Zagreb in late January. She invited me to be her guest, because she wants to have the people there who have left the greatest impression on the guests in previous editions.

She suggested to me to hire the editor of her book for the second edition of my Hotel Yugoslavia. First one didn’t have an editor, which was obvious when reading it. Every conversation with Kristina is inspiring and full of content – so was this one.

Andrea Štimac arrived, with whom I had also arranged an interview. Andrea works in the Tel Aviv – Zurich – Zagreb triangle, so I caught the day when she was actually in Zagreb. I recently had a longer conversation with her and then we agreed to do the interview because she is a very good interlocutor. She knows a lot about business and shares her knowledge unselfishly. Even after 20 years in practice, she still believes that marketing and advertising are a fantastic profession and that our industry brings great value to the business world.

Andrea says that advertising has changed, but our understanding of what to do now and how to go forward hasn’t kept pace with the changes. She thinks the success formulas that have worked in the past decades offer very limited insight into what could work in the future. This is because the business context is constantly changing: not in the banal sense, where we face the increased levels of technological change and new levels of competition, but in a more fundamental sense where every source of competitive advantage carries with itself the source of its own destruction.

From the Esplanade I rushed to the lunch with Alida Žorž Miketek. Very nice restaurant on Kaptol which I never visited. The food is even better. Great.

I meet with Alida whenever I have a chance. Just over a year ago we drank our first coffee in Zagreb (Sheraton). After that, we dined in Rovinj (Monte Mulino), drank coffee again in Zagreb (Esplanade) and we were now at lunch at the restaurant Mano. One year ago, we negotiated the collaboration between Nielsen and Media Marketing, today we analyze what we did. We are both satisfied – we with the scope of cooperation, and Nielsen with the content we published. Now Alida had the idea to extend this cooperation to Nielsen’s companies in Slovenia and Serbia. We’ll see if we can get them interested. I have some ideas that could go through.

Though we talk about many things, I always try to pick up some knowledge about TV ratings. I learned a lot from the texts we published about Nielsen this year. I hope these texts were useful to others in our industry as well. I am very grateful to Alida for all this.

The day is over. It was very exciting. I went to the hotel because Vedarana and I were to leave for Ljubljana early in the morning. The first meeting is already at nine o’clock.

December 5, 2018.