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Industry / Bread & Butter

November 18, 2009

There has been plenty of chatter around the Web these days about the collision of digital agencies and traditional advertising agencies. There are of course compelling arguments in both directions. Early last week, Ana wrote a piece for AdAge, shortly thereafter Jacques-Herve Roubert published this one.

This made me think about the symbiotic relationship between the digital and the traditional agency throughout the last decade. It made me wonder if digital shops are in for a pending backlash from the long-standing firms of Madison avenue, or if the digital shops would leave the dinosaurs in the dust. As more and more digital shops are approached by brands, and as more and more digital shops pursue brands directly, there is bound to be a instinctive reaction for survival exhibited by the “Monsters of Madison Ave.”

For some reason I do not see the two factions finding a common ground, or establishing rules of engagement across enemy lines anytime soon. Personally, over the last 15 years, I have found both paths to be just as rewarding, and of course and some point just as challenging. Maybe we need to drop the “D” word and all operate as what we all want to ultimately see ourselves as… Creative.

On that note, I must say I am really am more interested in using this post to create a conversation, and less about what I think about the industry, or if I think digital agencies are ready to lead, or not. Please feel free to comment, just try to keep it clean, after all this isn’t AgencySpy. (Hi Matt.)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2009 5:30 pm

    Every “digital” shop should ask themselves these two questions.

    1) What is the difference between a “marketing concept” versus a “digital tactic”?

    2) How can you promise an ROI to a client with a digital initiative?

    I work intensively in the digital space, with the exception of some writers, 99% of creatives, project managers and programmers cannot understand NOR conceive of a marketing concept.

    Simply put, a digital shop does not have the knowledge or mindset to come up with an ad campaign. Most of the “hot”shops like RGA, Organic, Razorfish, et al., are glorified production arms of mostly larger and established traditional shops. Occasionally they win one-off pitches and/or become AOR for a brief stint, but mostly they are design, flash and programming production through and through.

    Digital arrogance is a one HUGE problem this is pervasive throughout the entire industry.

    There IS more to the advertising business than having a blog, knowing Flash, and owning an iPod.

  2. November 18, 2009 10:19 pm

    Nice. Traditional strikes first!

  3. Darryl permalink
    November 24, 2009 7:44 pm

    Respectfully, DR’s response is riddled with unsubstantiated generalizations and assumptions on the perceived inferiority and lack of strategic insight held by digital shops -like somehow interactive shops just don’t ‘get it’ or understand the big picture.

    By all means DR, continue living in a vacuum and splitting hairs over trite little arguments like the differences between marketing concepts versus digital tactics and the absurd notion that digital initiatives are somehow handicapped in providing ROI. These arguments are simply irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    Digital and traditional agencies should absolutely work in symbiotic ways to achieve greater success through cross-pollination of ideas, strategies, and technological fluency. It is a bit mystifying why there is still so much animosity directed towards digital when clearly our industry needs a cohesive and collaborative approach to blending digital with traditional moving forward.

    There is a paradigm shift towards digital occurring whether you acknowledge it or not. You can regard this evolution as an opportunity or an obstacle; you can either embrace change or be relegated to the past; innovate or become obsolete.

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