Open season on ad/media agencies?


Is it just me or is the advertising industry copping a bit of flack from the armchair experts of late?

You know, the experts who don’t generally contribute to the output of the industry but have Mashable and Techcrunch on their RSS feeds so feel like they are instantly smarter than the rest of us.

It’s painful at times, but hey it keeps us on our toes. Still, it’s an unnecessary distraction considering most of us agency folk are still trying to work out what an Internet is and also plotting reasons why we should make sure we don’t recommend clients use it.

So I was interested to view the most recent LaVolta Digital Bullet – How should agencies respond to digital? After all, the respondants aren’t new to the game … they’re senior folk. Smart folk.

This series has been good and it’s been great to hear the opinions of people like Lee Stephens, John Butterworth and Tony Faure around topical issues.

The video is here, I recommend taking 5 minutes out of your day and watching it – http://www.lavolta.com.au/news/blog.asp?Display=146

A few of the comments got me thinking. I wondered whether they were made with a proper understanding of the topic they were discussing. I’m really still not sure.

Check out these winners …

Paul Fisher: “I fundamentally don’t understand why agencies aren’t embracing digital more than they are. Some are, but frankly the vast majority I don’t think are doing the right thing by their clients.”

Dominic Carosa: “What I’ve found working with agencies is that they always tend to take the easy approach when it comes to putting campaigns together for their clients. For example, they’ll take a 50-100k spend and spend it across the best 2-3 portals … what that tells is me is that agencies are simply too lazy to do the work on behalf of their clients.”

Jennifer Wilson: “One thing I think agencies need to realise is making a 30 second TVC might give them a lot of pleasure, but it’s not working at the consumer sweet spot … Brands have to realise that around 44% of their consumer interaction is digital and start spending 44% of their consumer engagement money in the digital space.”

Adam Dunne: “I think the challenge for agencies is not just the fact digital is in it’s infancy, and still growing in the number of people it can reach … but it’s also the lack of knowledge in the agencies themselves.”

Look, it was always going to happen … agencies are a pretty easy target.

We just “don’t get it” and we’re hamstrung by a “lack of knowledge”. We’re generally “lazy”and really don’t do the “right thing by our clients.” It’s just gives us more “pleasure” to make a 30 second TVC.

Unless, of course, we agree with the above. Then agencies “get it”.

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7 responses to “Open season on ad/media agencies?

  1. The phrase “vested interest” comes to mind when watching some of these well know luminaries bang on. From an a agency guy with a few years digital under the belt. RH

  2. Dominic did such a wonderful job at Destra didn’t he! Pfffft take his comments with a grain of salt I say.

  3. Armchair experts generally have a limited ability to provide real clarity on a situation because the advice comes from the confines of the armchair. It doesn’t consider what the view is like from the table or the sofa.

    To suggest 44% of brand interaction is online and therefore assume that 44% of the effect on that same consumers perception of a brand comes from online is a little niaive

    I agree with the pace of development being an issue and a big challenge is for agencies to expand the knowledge base of the group from the 20% or so of specialists to ensuring everyone has the ability to discuss digital confidently with their clients whom they are there to advise. If we don’t pro-actively do that, and quickly, we will have to wait until those running agencies are the digitally literate simply due to their generation

    Once that happens we are better positioned to bring clients into this space with the confidence they really have a sfae pair of hands guiding them.

    Equally, a communications plan or creative idea is rarely presented and then executed or implemented as suggested. Advertiser input is then taken on board and the original idea will be restructured either for solid business reasons or simpy because the advertiser doesn’t feel bold enough to run with a newer idea. The plan or execution then becomes ‘ours’ (agency and client) as opposed to the agencies alone so the 3 portals may not be the easiest option, it may be that the advertiser is only comfortable at that stage to use ‘broadcast’ digital

    ‘Experts’ rarely get listened to by being objective though do they?

  4. Customer (and their behaviours) should be in the centre of all solutions, not TVC … and not Digital either. Advancing technology is just a great enabler for customer communication and engagement – the same enabler that created TV and Radio and Email and the Internet and Mobile over the last 100 years.

    And in developing ‘customer centric’ solutions, it might be good in answering a topic titled ‘How should agencies respond to Digital?’ to actually get people from the Agencies themselves to answer.

    I am pretty sure that many of these who ‘don’t get it’ are enjoying making the vast amounts of $$ they do locally and globally from their clients through not ‘getting it’.

    After some rough math using these AdAge stats and Digital %, that is about US$2b of ‘don’t get it’. I bet the shareholder ‘get it’.

  5. It comes back to our clients and what they’re will to do.

    Many of them are traditionalists, comfortable with familiar ground or are simply closed to the idea completely.

    Therefore it’s not always the agencies fault because we have to jump through several hoops of initial ideas, refinement based on feedback, legalities, client changing their mind, more legalities and subsequently we end up seeding the TVC on youtube because that’s all we’re allowed to do…

    Armchair experts don’t neccessarily have the first hand, front line experience of dealing with digital-phobic clients…

  6. A nice relevant addition from Andrew Pimentel, Razorfish and his recent Cannes presentation ‘The Future of TV’ … “we need to put people at the centre of this, not technology”. And that from one of the worl’ds leading digital agencies.

  7. The digiphobes bag the traditionalphobes, vice-a-versa; it’s getting boring. But wait, no, it can’t be, not digital TV …Strangely the digiphobes have fallen silent. God, I hope I’m not taking sides!

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