Writing in Forbes, Avi Dan points out the real dangers to increasingly common 120-day payment terms: interest rates. Currently, short-term credit rates are near zero, minimizing the
effect that longer terms have on agencies. But when markets turn and interest rates shoot back up to 5% or 6%, 120-day payment terms could be a death knell for some agencies. Agencies will need to
borrow at higher interest rates just to stay afloat while waiting to be paid. Of this impending doom, Dan writes: "If the ad industry is not able to thwart this move toward
extended payment terms, this could ultimately lead to the end of the agency business model, as we know it. If agencies cannot sustain themselves financially, marketers may have to resort to a new
arrangement in which Madison Avenue’s role as an independent entity could give way to a system akin to in-house agency relationship, and where agency vendors are paid directly by the client."
Social media agency Movement Strategy has announced the addition of creative strategist, Stephen Para, as executive vice president and chief growth officer. An early proponent of digital marketing strategies, Para has helped build digital departments within agencies such as Catalyst/IMG and Tom, and Dick & Harry. He also developed a boutique design agency, The Conspiracy Project, and most recently, founded social media agency Kodiak/Samurai, contributing to his reputation as a brand communications expert. Of the hire, Movement Strategy Co-Founder Jason Mitchell said: “Over the past five years we have grown from a start-up to a highly respected agency. Bringing on Stephen marks the next step in our evolution as we focus on becoming a global social media agency. Stephen’s knowledge, creativity and relationships are helping us accomplish that.”
Advertising Age has a glowing piece on what it's touting as the new ad mecca: Austin, TX. Home to Omnicom's GSD&M, Dell, Whole Foods and SXSW, the town is indeed a happening place. But don't try to drive there. The place needs no less than three more Interstates to handle the growth. Sadly, that isn't coming anytime soon. What is coming is Ad Age's Small Agency Conference. And we have no problem mentioning that here at MediaPost. We've all got our conference series to keep the publishing side of things afloat. There's no secret there. But does one biggish ad agency and one big brand really make Austin a new ad mecca? Nothing is really going to unseat New York and San Francisco as Kings of Advertising. Think about it. What would Austin really have if it didn't have SXSW, which of course is the new love child of marketers and agencies?
Remember David Lipman? He was the guy whose agency, Lipman, tanked allegedly because of financial problems at parent company Revolate resulting in lawsuits filed for non-payment of vendor invoices. Well, he's back on his feet and has been tapped as chief creative officer for Town Creative. Of the hire, Town Creative President Wendy Maitland said: “By bringing David Lipman on board as chief creative officer, Town is revolutionizing branding and marketing in the worldwide real estate industry.”
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.