Dear John: Welcome To The "Dark Side"

"Luke, I am your father."

Being a huge Star Wars fan, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit these words again to make a point that many of you may have missed. These words were spoken the last time there was a great disturbance in "the force." In the last two weeks there has been another great disturbance and one of the most well respected sales people in interactive advertising announced that he is "coming over to the dark side," so to speak.

John Durham made it public last week that he was leaving Winstar Interactive to pursue a career shift whereby he will now be developing and running an interactive planning and buying service focused on political advertising. This marks the end of an era for many people as the bowtie-wearing Southern Boy is leaving behind the world of the Rep and entering into the world of the Agency. The very same world that he has been pitted against for many a year, throughout online and offline advertising of many shapes and sizes.

Does this mark the end of the rep business?

Does this mark the end of outsourced sales teams?

More importantly, does this mark the end of the Annual Pebble Beach trip?

Hopefully not, on any of these accounts.

Seriously though, I met John about 5 years ago when we "debated" on a panel about the roles of agencies and sales teams and how we can all work together better. It was a healthy debate and one that both sides felt had its merits. At the end of the day I learned a lot from John and I like to think he learned at least a little bit from me. Over the years I have enjoyed discussing advertising and marketing with the Professor (one of his many nicknames), and am very excited for him as he enters into this new phase of his career.

Political advertising is an interesting beast and will surely become a priority focus in the coming months as our country makes its decision on who will and who will not run for President. It is going to be an interesting ride, but one that is certainly suited for the Internet as it can harness the power of a true community. There will be flash mobs centered on political messages as well as "MeetUps" and Get-Togethers alike. It should make for some fun articles and editorials.

In the meantime I wanted to take a second to say thanks to John for all his hard work on behalf of our clients over the years and welcome to the world of the enemy (that's us).

Have Fun!

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