Ad Agency Of The Year – It’s You Again

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by: Karl Long

If Time magazine’s proclamation of “person of the year” being plain old you wasn’t enough, then Ad Week’s ad “Agency of the Year” being The Consumer should hammer home the point. The point being that the internet (and most significantly in 2006, youtube) enables massive distribution potential to anyone with an internet connection.

Think about it in the context of HL Menkins classic quote:

Freedom of press is limited to those who own one.

Overall it’s a pretty interesting article that is levelheaded and a couple of the points that they make are right on.

1. Consumers have always been in control, and consumer generated content is just amplifying that

A brand has only ever been as good as consumers’ experience of it. The difference today is that consumers have lots of ways of communicating those experiences, and trust each other’s views above marketers’ overt sales pitches. Consequently, they’re influencing marketing strategy as never before.

2. Agencies really are losing control

big agencies — great companies that once cast long shadows over corporate America — are losing more of their control within a marketing process that for decades they have dominated. They’re already being squeezed by procurement departments and jostled by media companies and nibbled at by a host of other kinds of agencies that grew in importance as TV ceased to be the only game in town.
“Traditional agencies have never had to think about distribution because they’d been told what media to color in,” says Nick Law, North American chief creative officer at digital shop R/GA,

3. Inexpensive Rapid Prototyping comes to the Ad industry

As I had written previously in the 3 rules for managing viral marketing I noted that the cost of creating viral ads was so low that experimentation and rapid prototyping had to be part of the development process, and to be a total dick and quote myself:

Viral Marketing should be treated as an innovation exercise and you should be focused on building a portfolio of social media experiments. A crucible of creativity through blogs, vlogs, podcasts, widgets, social networks; tools that are easy to engage with and are easily shared. Remember, failure is not only an option it’s a requirement, so “fail faster so you can succeed sooner”
“We are forced to work faster and to try to spend less money, and that’s a positive thing,” he says. “It changes the way we validate certain kinds of ideas, and it allows for a lot of inexpensive rapid prototyping.”

There is a follow up post called How and Why We Picked the Consumer as Agency of the Year which is worth a look.

Lawyer Stephen Voltz and juggler Fritz Grobe created the year’s most important piece of commercial content. Their viral video, ‘Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment,’

One thing that agencies need to take on board from this is that it is still really all about authenticity, this is in fact something I have seen written about a lot in “2007 predictions”. Like David at the Brand Experience Lab

As for moving forward I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more news about the effects of social-media and consumer generated content on the political process, David Dalka just recently wrote about this in “How to Forge a New American Mandate Via Social Media Political Revolution”.

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