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    January 04, 2007


    Rob @ Cynic

    Hi Mate ...

    I'm with you on the future of ad agencies ... I see great possibilities as long as they remain open minded about how to handle the changes in consumer needs and behaviours. [not just selling rational brand communication using the 'usual' channels]

    I'm also very optimistic that intelligent, vibrant creativity will shine again on a mass scale. What people forget is that the internet has almost single handidly put the power of creativity back on the map.

    If there is a bad ad [like in most other mediums] no one gives it a second to make an impact, no one passes it on to billions and more importantly, no one gives a damn about the brand.

    This is great for our industry as it has reminded [and is still reminding] corporations that creativity can be an unstoppable force in making great things happen for business - and as long as agencies remember that is not an excuse to just produce funny spots with brand names attached, then I believe we will rise again in the eyes of corporateland.

    Lets face it, only adland can be seen as knowing how best to motivate, educate and stimulate the masses ... something the common management consultant can never achieve with their cost cutting, aquisition and NPD for the sake of NPD strategies.

    Brand power comes FROM the people and without doubt, if we're smart, open minded and think in terms of real ideas [not just advertising ideas] then agencies are the best placed to unlock and harness that power for everyone's benefit.

    Jesus, I sound like I've been at the Kool-Aid don't I ... but all in all, I'm pretty optimisitic about a lot of things - and this is from a bloke at a company called cynic!!!


    Gareth, you are right about a lot of things but I think your assumption that ad agencies are the only ones who understand and can create the kind of content you talk about. I beg to differ. There is far more creativity both online, and within adjacent industries that make funny ads with brands inserted into them look like silly brand drivel. And in the defence of media I would argue that interactive media offer new and interesting ways of moving people because it allows brands to DO stuff not just say it. The big deficit I see in ad agencies is that they are experts at saying stuff and visualising narratives but they haven't got a clue how brands should DO stuff and behave in interactive media. That is a different skill set that not even the top digital agencies got to fully appreciate yet. Besides who said advertising is the most impactful communication tool that we have in the box. Advertising is just one of a million things that a brand can do to build its story. Don't get me wrong I am an ad planner and I love a good ad like everyone but navel gazing never got anyone anyfurther from the comfort of their own seat.


    I'm optimistic that ad agencies and media strategists will once again come together in a big group hug.

    Rob @ Cynic

    Amen to that Emily ... but not just Media Strategists and Agencies - but the whole gambit of comms people, from packaging to npd, sales to promotions.

    It can and does happen still ... but it's still rarer than [to quote the typical Wharfie at the London Pub' "Rocking Horse Shit"

    Marcus Brown

    I'm optimistic for this interbwebby thing. I think it might stay interesting this time.


    Speed - fair point but I have to disagree and say I still believe the good ad agencies make the best content and tend to come up with the sticliest ideas. Not all the time, but I think there is historically a higher lieklihood. Bu they do need to adapt and begin to get their head's around behavior not simply messaging. Totally agree with you about brands needing to do but I think this is bigger than interactive media - it's about blurring the lines between product and marketing.
    Emily and Rob - I hope we all do come together. Definitely the most frustrating (and stupidly self-inflicted) thing about the industry.

    Rob @ Cynic

    How right you are Gareth, separation of communication disciplines has led to one of the most frustrating - and limiting - periods for brands/branding - all driven by the greed of the multinationals.

    Shortsighted fools ...


    I'm optimistic about advertising agencies working more closely with digital and media agencies. As our roles get blurred and less defined, our solutions and ideas get bigger!

    Also super optimistic about India's future and how things are changing here for the better across all sectors of the economy! And that it's only going to more exciting as multinationals set up shop and creative agencies are hotting up on opening offices here =)

    Culture is King

    Interesting post G - below is a few thoughts/builds. Would have posted here, but didn't want to bog your thread down with 'death by comment'

    Rob @ Cynic

    When I saw 'culture is king' I was hoping you were a fellow believer in communication having to shift 'cultures' rather than simply shifting 'individuals' - but I still liked your post very much and firmly agree that content is everything.

    The thing that makes me laugh from a media perspective is that this simple rule tends to get ignored by them.

    Sure, how the message is delivered is vitally important - but so is what you say and how you say it - and yet too many media 'experts' think their specific channel is the all-seeing, all-conquering medium which is both wrong and incredibly shortsighted.

    When I was at HHCL, I was trained to think channel neutral and - to coin Marcus's phrase - channel convergence ... how sad it seems so many agencies/people have taken a massive step backwards where if there is any campaign 'intergration' it is more like 'campaign immitation' - where a single image from a TVC is utilised in all other media.

    We have to have enthusiasm, entertainment and vitality for communication to cut through and yet too many organisations ignore this under the guise of being more 'cost effective'. I hate this phrase because more often than not, it translates to 'cheap' rather than 'effective' ... with the irony being that perpetually creating entertaining, motivating, enthusiastic communication will probably be more effective [in the real sense of the word] even though it will cost more than running a single ad/ad image over and over again.

    Culture is King

    Hi Rob, thanks for your comment

    I certainly am a believer of communications shifting cultures - not individuals - but I also think that content is not 'decoded' universally in a media neutral vacum. It's decoded in a social context and that's why the media vehicle is still important, as it 'frames' the meaning of the content if you like i.e. they're inextricably bound up and interlinked. Thus I think it's ultimately about how content 'and' delivery resonates with culture - not just the former. So it's a kind of more all-encompassing socio-cultural approach if that makes sense

    Rob @ Cynic

    Hello Mr Culture ... totally agree with you ... the issue is 'what you say', 'how you say it' and 'where you say it' are all inherently linked and yet more often than not - despite all the 'claims' - they tend to be mutually exclusive which is bollocks, especially as we were thinking like this at HHCL back in '91!

    The Communication World is devolving it seems!

    ex-media planner

    "At the end of the day what matters in communication is content. Not it's delivery"

    Gareth, on the one hand I sympathise. Of course content matters most. You can't really use most digital stuff properly without great content, because people can filter the crap out too easily. Also, ad agencies will inevitably get better at adapting to different delivery forms.

    However, a few thoughts came to mind reading the post...
    First, delivery matters more than ever. Too few advertising agencies are open to melding thinking about how the content should be experienced with the actual content itself. Shouldn't we be thinking about complete experiences and behaviors rather than "content" and "delivery", really?
    Second, in my experience advertising agencies are great at overarching ideas and lousy at any content that is complex, nuanced, longform, multilayerd etc. I've learned this through countless attempts to produce magazines, make TV programmes, build communities and so on with ad agencies (even the really good ones). The overarching idea was sticky but the execution in anything with these characteristics typically sucked. The answer always seemed to lie in blending the ad agency with someone capable of creating really great content - writers, movie-makers etc.
    So I sort of agree, but why not embrace "delivery" too?


    ah we planners certainly are good at being verbose, judging by the numerous comments. great content will alawys be king. it's like a pretty girl, she can wear whatever, sure some things will make her look better than others, but in the end she'll always be pretty. fragmentation and media are a red herring, content is the deal

    ex-media planner

    I like that, rukallstar. I'm just glad that I work with a team who aren't just satified with a pretty girl - she's got to be well dressed too, because we'll be more successful that way.


    Is mr ex media planner, malcolm? if so, hello. To be honest, I agree that delivery is important - where and when a brand shows up is part of it's behavior. I guess my post was written in an extremely one-sided way to try and stimulate some debate, but more importantly to try and correct this bizarre pendulum swing in the industry to focusing solely on media 'innovation' (more often than not intrusive urban spam) rather than its content.

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