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Jerry Mpufane assumes the role of chairman of the M&C Saatchi Abel JHB Group at a time when the ad industry, like many other sectors in SA, faces tough trading conditions. Agencies, he says, are working harder than ever as client businesses become more “corporatised”.  Added to this is the fact that procurement departments and CFOs are more involved in marketing decisions than ever before, while stricter governance is requiring a greater adherence to strict processes. The tough economy of the past decade has eroded agencies’ profit margins, which means that despite there being more work, there is less return. “Our focus now is on buckling up, working smarter and thinking of new ways to do things,” says Mpufane. Of all the challenges faced by the ad industry at present, he believes a lack of talent is the greatest. “The ad industry is one of the few in which talent is the biggest – if not the only – asset,” he says. The onus is therefore on agencies to seek talent that adds a new per...

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