I was talking to a friend last night about the biz and despite the jack and cokes that were flowing through me I think we made some rational statements about the future, specifically how screwed up it is that communication in general has become so siloed none of us can tell we’re standing within feet of one another. And that we all have the same mission: get butts in seats, sell something, deliver a message, create an emotional bond et al. I’ve never taken an advertising lesson so if this sounds redundant, it’s supposed to — this stuff is important. But more than that it’s blatantly obvious but I’m going to say it anyway.
So recently someone asked me what is the future of advertising and I said convergence. He said, well what does that mean and I said it’s convergence, dude, delivering a message through pretty much every platform and not calling it advertising or PR but just admitting that it’s communication and nothing else. It’s not PR + Advertising + Journalism + Research, it’s all of those things with none of the bad memories in one big supergenius robot called Voltron. The sum of many parts.
Note: Advertising, as a name for this industry, is a meaningless moniker created back in the day to differentiate the business from the next closest thing — which was probably journalism. It will probably be called advertising forever but come on, it’s real name is communication and by definition it is “an ongoing, dynamic process between an infinite number of variables with no beginning, middle or end.” — Ken Ksobiech. Bottom line — the message has to be unified under one unit consisting of linear but integrated media.
And today “advertising” is no longer valuable except that people go, “oh, you’re in advertising…that shit doesn’t work on me but I love those Burger King ads.” Or whatever.
Anyway back to the future: it’s undoubtedly a mixture of everything that’s out there but more like the 1980s hit cartoon Voltron which was this big badass robot that would “form” only when shit got really bad. Voltron is composed of 5 really cool transformer-like robots which are piloted by people we were supposed to like and want to be like. Today communication is really the same thing, except it’s probably less like a hero and more like a pain in the ass that the majority of America and the world at large would like to see dead.
So what’s the answer? Well lots of you know this already but I think it’s time to stop over-thinking this stuff and just focus on the end game — selling shit. The agency model doesn’t work and Coke just announced their plans to not pay you if your work doesn’t drive sales. Eh hem, Crispin (Burger King’s sales are down).
David Ogilvy did something similar back in the day when he changed O&M from a commission system to a fee-based system. Everyone was pissed at him but he did it to legitimize the business — take it out of the “sales” realm and make it more like law or dentistry.
But now we need another upgrade and if the kids at Gawker get paid more for higher traffic stories, why the hell shouldn’t you? The perception of value-add (aka when there’s not an uptick in sales but your account guy tells the client, “well we got your name out there”) is what’s destroying this business and it basically perpetuates the bad work we keep seeing day after day.
So if you’ve got the balls step it up and start promising ROI. You’ll be ahead of the pack if it works and furthermore it will cause you to face your failures in a more real way — ie you don’t get paid. But look if I go out to eat and the food sucks, I’m not paying (well, in theory — I don’t have a discerning pallet and try not to be a dick most of the time).
As you may have noticed, Matt is on vacation. Hell, the kid deserves it. While he’s gone, it’s going to be just little ol’ me click-clacking away here at Agency Spy. I’ve been in and out and barely posting the last few months, but while I’m (back) in charge this week, let’s fuck shit up, yeah?
Here’s the current plan:
1. This week, the site will be offering a series of Op-Eds from various advertising thinkers about the future of the business. Hopefully, someone else writing on this darn blog will spark some inspiration and discussion.
2. We’re going to be holding our first Chit Ch@ this week. What the hell is that? It’s an online, real time live Q&A for AgencySpy readers with a leader in the ad business. Our first guest will be 4A’s President Nancy Hill. You’ll be able to ask her whatever you want – within reason. That should be fun, right? Thinking Thursday or Friday, but stay tuned for more details.
3. Tell me what you want. If it’s a good idea, let’s figure out how to do? Contact me at superspyin at gmail dot com
This weekend at the Globalshop expo we talked a lot about brand differentiation, creating a diverse experience for participants/shoppers and passersby — all in the name of branding. Gap came up a lot, presumably because just a few years ago it was considered a leader in the retail clothing business in terms of branding, but since then other stores have mimicked Gap’s approach, making it less unique — which then makes the products seem less unique. And why would you pay more for something that appears to be very similar to something else?
Indeed to stay ahead of competitors, Gap seriously needs to evolve their on-the-ground experience. What once was a clothing manufacturer with the catchiest, most fun to watch ads, is today a run-of-the-mill jeans spot for moms.
If you want trendy goods, head to H&M, Express, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Uniqlo or the corner second-hand shop. And though Gap was never the trendiest of trendies, it held a perception that it was more than just an oxford + knit pullover + distressed leather belt resource. It was, for a time, cool.
Indeed, this is a problem you solve for many of your clients. But here’s what we want to know — is a bottom-up image upgrade what brands like Gap need to regain market dominance or can advertising solve the problem? Is this a matter of buzz or one of more substance?
Just a reminder that you can follow us on Twitter. We’re appropriately named @agencyspy and @superspyin. If you want to keep up with the layoffs we’ve been hearing about, follow @adagencylayoffs.
Oh btw Ogilvy didn’t make the site, but we like that they played with it and video taped it and posted it and la la la.
The Museum of Modern Art completely took over the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street subway station in Brooklyn. They neatly plastered it with reproductions of more than 50 pieces from the MoMA collection. You can walk through it and see works from Vincent van Gogh, Charles Eames, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and others.
Above is a 3D rendering of the exhibits. Forgive the video, since we couldn’t find an embeddable version, and had to use our handy Flip Mino to get this thing on the site.
More: “When Advertising Fails, Trust In Art”
We’re going to be um, indisposed for the next hour or two while we throw together next week’s TWIA. Since Monday is a national holiday and all, we’ll not be here at our little computer typing away, which means the show gets taped now. Meantime, enjoy this video of a monkey giving another monkey a handful of his poop. Not really. I don’t know why I said that.
Via Illegal Ads
Ten tips on how to send info in a way that won’t get you in trouble with your boss. And help keep the advertising world honest, transparent, and juicy!
1. Never, under any circumstances, e-mail info about your company from your work e-mail address. It’s 100 percent traceable back to you.
2. Don’t tell anyone that you work with you sent us a tip.
3. Use the anon tips box if you’re worried about e-mailing.
Seven more after the jump.