Coming from a traditional ATL background and working in a digital agency is proving to be a great opportunity to look both at the roots and the frontiers of our industry, and take sneak peaks into its future.
For example, I think that the advertising industry has a critical opportunity to gain ground in the war for talent, and this opportunity is provided by digital. For a number of reasons:
1. Digital is extremely new and extremely innovative in its nature. Give or take, tv ads haven’t changed significantly in the past 40 years. On the other hand, not only has digital been dramatically evolving and reshaping over the past 10, but we are all aware that it will keep changing over the next 10 (or 50), and that doing digital creative work in 5 years will look nothing like today. This alone is a unique catalyst for talented people
2. Digital is perceived as a “technical” discipline that requires specialist expertise. Marketers acknowledge a lack of such expertise, and recognise the added value of digital agencies, trusting their recommendations. In other words, digital agencies can enjoy a certain authority and freedom of movement, that again attracts talents.
3. Due to the combined action of these first two elements (a very high degree of innovation & technical sophistication) digital agencies are likely to exert a certain level of authority vis-a-vis their clients in the long term, something traditional agencies haven’t been able to mantain.
4. With computers and mobile phones becoming ubiquitous, all creative work will become digital-centered, and so will agencies. All agencies will thus enjoy a renewed sense of acknowledged authority and respect. (Unless they manage to screw that up, too, and honestly I can’t rule that out)
5. Finally, digital is trackable and interactive. That means that not only will we know if a crap campaign generates crap results, but we’re also likely to have consumers telling us it’s crap. That will mean the end of the “Buy into this idea because our creative director says so” business model. We will be forced to put more effort into our work and invest on merit and talent.
Final Burp: Glamour won’t save the ad industry. Geeks will. (Just like the Californian economy.)