Just so I’m clear, you’re predicting the end of ad agencies in 2016.
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ⓒⓐⓥⓔⓣ, thanks for your input and views — very much appreciated. Getting people to debate the issue is my main goal as it showcases we still have passionate people that believe in the industry and it’s capability as you outline above.

Firstly I think there is a serious issue in the industry (atleast here in Australia) where the advertising agency business model is at a cross roads and needs to change to survive. So yes, if that change does not happen, then we’ll see a number of ad agencies here come to an end and some of that reckoning will happen in 2016 in Australia as we already have a number of agencies on the brink of closing their doors.

Globally your view is somewhat correct, big brands are and will move their accounts to ensure efficiency driving measures at Head Office, and this trend will continue. Perhaps not to 99Designs yet. At the moment globally this is happening between the client account shifting across large networks, and at some point technology will provide a lower cost solution and that advertising agencies will be disinter-mediated. This is inevitable unless the agency business model changes.

My viewpoint and opinion (backed up with external references) is that the current model, specifically the traditional creative department format is no longer fit for purpose and there is no point trying to re-engineer it — the whole idea that one department is “The Source” of all creativity within an agency is outmoded. I’m not saying that these people in the department are not creative, from my experience I have had the luck to work with some exceptional creative teams and hope to do so in the future — I just think the model is way past its use by date. The longer agencies hold onto the sacrosanct Art Director / Copywriter model the bigger the fall for that agency.

And you are totally correct, I do lament the industry’s measures of success where they are based on agency wins, revenue, awards etc and not on driving impact, value and outcomes for our clients. Therefore I am very proud of my teams delivering great results for Samsung, my previous client in the UK, which include the following (also outlined on my LinkedIn profile):

2012 Olympics Sponsorship

  • 400% traffic increase to website
  • From 0 to 100,000 Facebook fans in 12 weeks
  • 111% online brand uplift
  • 818% increase in share of voice across social media
  • Over 4.7 million YouTube views
  • #1 Twitter reach of Olympic sponsors
  • Case Study Video: https://vimeo.com/50599332

Samsung NX Camera Launch

  • 606% increase in consideration
  • Market share increase from 2.8% to 55%
  • NX Camera sales increased by 2365%
  • The product sold out in major retailers across the UK.
  • Case Study Video: http://vimeo.com/60097041

However you did hit the nail on the head and I totally agree with your viewpoint on the fact that what’s wrong with the industry are the phonies on the agency side. If they are left in charge then they are going to drive the industry to it’s death.

I cannot predict the future, but I can see a potential future, and in that potential future advertising agencies are no longer relevant.

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