The Tomorrow of Advertising
Agencies used to be the gatekeepers of industry creativity. They produced high-level work and managed the talent behind it. It was a self-contained ecosystem in which an agency was your only option for your advertising needs. But with the arrival of the digital revolution, creatives have found homes elsewhere and the full-service agency model is being compartmentalized into hyper-focused, smaller operations, often in the form of small content shops and in-house studios. This new model, while a threat to some of the long-standing traditional agencies, is a dream for brands and clients. They can now tailor their needs down to the very teams that handle their work, drawing upon freelance and specialized content creation talent.
Publishing houses such as Vice, The New York Times, and Buzzfeed are leading the growing trend of establishing in-house branded content studios. Whatever growing pains they may be navigating, with content strong enough to win business away from traditional agencies, it’s a time of adapt or die for many. While revamping internal structure is so clearly the best course of action, it’s not the easiest one to take. Many long-standing agencies have built their name and business model on a process that has worked for them for decades. Perhaps for those institutions, integrating content specialists into their existing operation is a more palatable option.
Call us non-traditionalists, but this latest industry shakeup doesn’t rattle us and we don’t think it should rattle others either. In a time ripe with emerging and multifaceted talent, when advertisers and brands are bolder and more ingenious than ever before, couldn’t this time be the catalyst for better and more substantial ads? A time to bring in fresh blood, take risks, and push the whole industry into the future?
If you don’t believe us, we’ll leave you with Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco’s take: "Here’s the way I see it: The difference between old and new media publishers (or traditional and digital-native publishers, if you prefer) is that, while both struggle to stay afloat, some new media companies just don’t quite realize it yet." Here’s to us all surviving the media apocalypse.
Photo credits: Les Anderson (top post) and Paul Frenzel (bottom post)