Advertising is Dead, Long Live Advertising

“Advertising is Dead, Long Live Advertising,” an examination of what, if anything, needs to be done to recalibrate the existing agency model to make it fit for purpose for the future. Many leading international client companies have already come out and said the existing model is already broken and the industry needs to come up with suitable alternatives. Do you agree? What might the agency of the future look like in 10 years from now?

‘The agency model is broken’ is something I’ve heard since I started in the industry eight years ago. That phrase is still knocking around today, so clearly it’s time to get fixing.

In order to fix the agency model, we need to consider three key disciplines — Communications, Production and Product — and their new alliance in the agency of the future.


We’re all experts at this, and while the world is changing dramatically around us, clients still have a need to create strategic and tactical campaigns. Add Production and Product skills into this mix, and we can make what we do better, for everyone.


An agency needs to be able to react instantly or, as we like to say, create at the speed of culture. An in-house production model and mindset facilitates this and is often a more valuable asset than creative skills alone. This kind of model enhances the creative process, encouraging experimentation and sparking a huge variety of cross platform content. Most importantly it allows agencies to react in real-time to whatever’s happening in the world. By building in-house production studios, we are master of our own production lines, ready to evolve the type of content and channels traditionally used by agencies.


In theory, agencies have all the necessary components to become part product studios — creative and developer talent, business expertise, and an expert view on consumer behaviour. But when you spend all your time servicing clients, product development becomes secondary. Product is the talk of agency-land right now, but there’s no point just talking about it. We need dedicated studios following best practices of product development; we need budgets to support production, and budgets like these usually come from IT departments, not marketing ones. An agency product studio must have the strategic, product management, design and engineering talent to take concepts beyond that first meeting to market launch.

By adding production and product to an agency’s communications capabilities, we’ll increase our industry’s likelihood of survival. This is our opportunity to shape the future and create a real dent in the universe. Our challenge now is to evolve and do what we do, better.

Deirdre Waldron

CEO at TBWA\Dublin Group, including Cawley Nea\TBWA (Communications), TBWA\Make (Production) and TBWA\DAN Dublin (Product).

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