Writing in Forbes, Avi Dan discusses the notion of whether or not the agency of
record model is dead. But he comes to no real conclusion. I will. It is my belief that the agency of record is the best model and that brands who shop every last project out to the some specialty shop
or the lowest bidder are doing themselves a disservice in the long run. Why? Because every new shop wants to put its stamp on the brand -- and that almost always results in different iterations of the
brand promise when it should be consistent year after year after year. Yes, specialty shops can move quicker than most mainstream agencies, but unless a lasting bond is formed between agency and
brand, the two shall never come to a true understanding of one another. My suggestion? Agencies should get over their pride and partner -- truly partner -- with other entities that can provide what
the brand needs so that there is still one controlling interest in place overseeing brand consistency. Yes. It's much easier said than done. But that shouldn’t deter agencies from trying.
In a hilarious take on why agency credential pitches are pure folly, Brothers and Sisters CEO Matthew Charlton writes, "I think it starts in a bad place because unknown to the client, the agency has spent more time arguing about the font, font size and visuals in the PowerPoint and even longer on what to put on the reel than any one of their clients' business in the last three months. Agencies are obsessed with their creds." Having worked in many an agency, I can confirm that is, sadly, 100% true. He boils it all down to one hilarious equation: a) What The Client Wants (WTCW) = b) What The Agency Actually Wants To Talk About (WTAAWTTA) - c) What The Agency Has Actually Produced (WTAHAP) x d) Level Of Summary Exaggeration Required (LOSER).
Oh, this is rich. After the PR arm of Carmichael Lynch, known as Carmichael Lynch Spong, realized there might be confusion in the marketplace as to which entity is which, the agency has decided to spin off the PR unit as, simply, Spong. How long did it take them to figure that out? 23 years. Yes. 23 years. Of the change, Carmichael Lynch Spong Founder and President Doug Spong said: "On occasion, there’s confusion between whether Carmichael Lynch Spong is an advertising agency or if Carmichael Lynch is a PR firm, so it brings a lot of clarity to that, and in this day and age, clarity is good." Really, Doug? Really?
And if you've been living under a rock for the past day or two, it might interest you to know that JWT is changing its name back to J. Walter Thompson. Say what you will about that, but the real news is that Sir Martin Sorrell let the cat out of the bag at an executive breakfast Monday -- stealing the thunder right out from under JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey, who had been adhering to a plan to make the change later this year in December to coincide with the agency's 150th anniversary. Oops.
Ever since the advent of crowdsource-fueled creative entities like 99Designs, Freelancer and Fiver, design studios, which previously buttered their bread with business from ad agencies, are now
upping their game, cutting out the agency and going direct to the brand for business.
Of the trend, Design Business Council Head Greg Branson said, “A lot of the designers I work with have a strategy partner or a senior person in the business that does strategy. Many of them have been recruited by the designer out of the advertising industry, with the intention of taking their business to a higher level and offering a broader range of services."
While a design studio isn't going to take over the Coke account any time soon, shifts like this are on the rise. Interestingly, even before 99Designs and the like, Barbarian Group, which prior to Subservient Chicken, was a tech design studio of sorts, transformed itself into a full blown agency complete with all the usual agency services.
No, there won't be a weekly parade of design studios making it big like Barbarian did but market conditions have changed significantly enough that we will continue to see more of this.
For the past day or so, it seems impossible to escape from a Google News alert that isn't filled with that story about popular Indian celebrity Aishwarya Rai, who appeared in an ad for Kalyan
Jewellers elegantly dressed with a dark-skinned child holding an umbrella over her head. Many have called the ad racist.
An open letter from a consortium of feminist, child and human rights groups says the ad appears to "be representing aristocracy from a bygone era -- bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head."
The letter, which shares several examples of 17th- and 18th-century images that would now be considered racist, continues: "We wish to convey our dismay at the concept of this advertisement, and that you have, perhaps unthinkingly, associated with such a regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product...we, therefore, urge you to do the right thing -- cease to associate yourself with this offensive image by ensuring that further use of this advertisement is stopped."
In response, a statement from Aishwarya pretty much shirks any responsibility and blames the creative agency for the debacle. The statement read: "On the onset we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observation of the perception of the advertisement. Here is an attachment (picture of Aishwarya without the child holding the umbrella) of the shot taken by somebody during the shoot. The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professionals working on the brand visual communication. Thank you once again."
Kalyan Jewellers has pulled the ad.
On Wednesday at the LSA|15 Conference in Los Angeles, the Local Search Association announced the winners of its second annual Ad to Action Awards competition. LSA received 91 entries across 10
categories and the winners were revealed on the main stage at the event.
The competition focused on celebrating the most innovative "local" marketing products or solutions that facilitate consumer actions such as calls, clicks, store visits, etc. The winners demonstrated the greatest potential for driving local consumer engagement and best addressed current market needs.
The judging panel -- made up of 18 companies including Twitter, Foursquare, Yahoo, MapQuest, xAd and more -- evaluated these products and solutions. Each judge reviewed a subset of entries and no judge reviewed any entries where there was a potential conflict of interest.
In the Platforms and Services category, Chicago-based Rise Interactive, which likes to refer to itself as an "interactive investment management firm," won the top spot. And we can see why. Any agency that can spin the fact that they buy online advertising into "interactive investment management form" is worthy of praise.
For, oh, at least the past 7-10 years, every prognosticator has gleefully been promising "this is the year of mobile!" to the point where it's become a joke. Now, certainly, mobile has matured and
has become a viable medium for many things including advertising. But AKQA CCO Rei Inamoto isn't completely convinced.
In an interview with The Drum, Inamoto said, “To an extent I think the promise of mobile in relation to marketing has been exaggerated. The biggest misconception about mobile and the biggest mistake that advertisers make about mobile is to treat it like an advertising channel. Instead we should use it as a way to provide service not to provide a message.”
And, being the smart guy that he is, he's right. Rather than forcing old models (*cough* ...banners) through mobile devices, brands should embrace new services. Many have. Love them or hate them, Inamoto cites Uber as a brand that's fully embraced mobile, not as an advertising medium per se but, rather, as a platform for doing business.
So, yes, mobile has finally arrived. But my hope for the medium is that we can skip past all the missteps we took forcing old advertising models onto the internet and treat mobile very differently and more effectively. Like the personal service it has become. Not a pipe through which to shove ads.