ad agencies

How Ad Agencies Can Avoid a Death Spiral

Leo Burnett’s fledgling firm got off to an inauspicious start when it opened in 1935. With one client account, a staff of eight and a bowl of apples in reception, cynics said that he would soon be selling those apples on the street.

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The Creative Team of Tomorrow, Today

History has a way of repeating itself. I still remember the heady days of the original digital agencies. They were built on the market demand for Websites ranging from the complex transactional to the marketing microsite. The smart agencies however knew that they had to diversify by bringing in "traditional" talent in the form of planners, art directors and copywriters. These new additions to "digital" teams often times didn't even know how to code, push a pixel and many were not considered digital. But they knew how to tell a story.

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The 70/20/10 Rule

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the fall of the magazine business. We both have spent a substantial part of our careers in the mag biz. Her comment was a good one, “I talk to friends every day still in the magazine business that are surprised by what’s happening.” We both agreed that now being outside the industry it’s shocking that they didn’t see it coming long ago.

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The Progression of Agency Value

Over the past few months I've been working with the smart folk at Econsultancy on a project (in partnership with Adobe) to better understand the impact of digital technologies on agencies. A big reason for doing this is that, inspite of there being much chatter in the blogosphere on the future of agencies and the agency model, there seems to be a paucity of good research on how agencies are adapting to the many challenges brought by the rapidly changing communications environment.

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Bright Lights Project -- Ad Agencies

The fallout of digital technology and its social applications continues to wash across the communications industry, with many leading advertising agencies starting 2012 with staff reductions while big-name brands like Microsoft and P&G fire hundreds of their marketers.

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Will Madison Avenue Become the La Brea Tar Pits of the Ad Industry?

The news that Ladies' Home Journal was turning to crowdsourcing as a way forward was a bit of a shock to me. The first company I started, Sports and Fitness Publishing, was a magazine company. You could say that I have ink in my blood. My Dad, Grandfather and Great Grandfather were all newspaper publishers. Almost every summer job I had in High School and College was working at the Canton Daily Ledger, my hometown paper.

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It's Time to Evolve

I’ve been struck by all of the recent accusations flying around as client/agency relationships have become more fluid -- from the rant of an industry honcho at the latest 4A’s conference saying he blames clients for the state of the industry to the “they didn’t fire us we fired them” attitude of agencies making the rounds every time a client decides it’s time for a new direction.

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Will Agencies Become Publishers?

A few years ago, when I was doing presentations about web 2.0, I had a deck about the democratization of media. It was the usual stuff I like to call "media Marxism" (aka social media): how the means of media production were now in the hands of the proletariat, how content capitalism was giving way to the new order, and a lot of other things I and many other people were discovering at the time.

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15 Stories from Fast Company about the Future of Advertising

FastCompany yesterday made a splash with its The Future of Advertising piece. It's not the first time the magazine offers predictions about the ad industry. I've looked through the first 100 issues published between 1995-2005, and found at least 15 stories describing how broken the ad biz is and offering some version of its future; that's at least one story published every year.

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