Culture is shaped and influenced by those who create. Who submit a product into the world for consideration. More ad agencies seem to be realizing that they need “to get out of their chrome towers, mingle with the people and soak up the culture.”
The New York Times highlights several agencies that are branching out with their own products:
- Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s Zag division launched the fashion blog Mrs. O
- Brooklyn Brothers created Fat Pig chocolate and has a furniture line in the works
- The esteemed Anomaly established the Avec Eric website and TV series for chef Eric Ripert as well as recently launched music t-shirt store I/denti/tee
So what’s going on?
Advertising agencies have dabbled in side businesses for decades, but “inventing their own brand, not dependent on clients’ largess, is the big new thing,” said George Parker, an ad agency consultant and writer of AdScam, a blog about the industry. As the economy worsens and ad budgets tighten, “the creation of intellectual property and new products is something you’re going to see a lot more of,” he said.
But beyond just adding a new revenue stream during the recession, ad agencies need to do something. Is it that the big idea alone is no longer enough? It’s necessary, but it may not be sufficient, anymore.