I didn’t say that. Winston Binch said it. Winston was one of the forces behind the emergence of Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s digital reputation, leading interactive efforts on clients such as American Express, Domino’s, Burger King and Best Buy. Before that he oversaw creative and technical development on much of Nike + at R/GA. So presumably he knows what he’s talking about. He recently left CP&B to join Deutsch and his ex VW client.
In the last few years, the advertising industry has seen never ending fragmentation and the emergence of specialized agencies in social media, digital creative, digital strategy, digital media and digital production. Some of those firms and the press that covered them rejoiced at least a little bit in proclaiming that traditional agencies didn’t get it. Their creative departments only knew how to do TV. They didn’t have embedded technology. They were too slow to change.
Now, however, it appears that we might see a reversal of that sentiment. Iain Tait resides at Wieden and Kennedy. Winston goes to Deutsch. Matt Howell joins Arnold. Mauro Cavaletti and Perry Fair come to Mullen.
Traditional agencies may still be developing campaign-like digital experiences, but it’s only a matter of time before they get as good at platforms and eco-systems as well for a few unarguable reasons. One, it’s harder and harder to separate one brand experience from another; they need to work together and agencies will figure out how to take the lead. Clients will tire of having to manage so many resources and the struggle to get them to all work seamlessly together. (Even if they want to they don’t always know how.) And, perhaps most importantly, great digital talent is realizing that they want to be part of the brand team, influencing the “big” idea itself, and so they’re concluding that ad agencies offer up the best opportunities.
If you need further evidence, you can always follow the dollars, not just the talent. Just today Ad Age reported that agencies are getting 28 percent of their revenue from digital, and while the bulk of those dollars are going to the likes of pure play digital shops, multiple billions are being divvied up by DR and traditional agencies.
At the same time, digital agencies are striving to develop so called traditional skills, seeking and hiring brand strategists, storytellers and TV talent. No doubt many will figure out that side of the business, too. (Ad agencies needed to learn social and digital to thrive; now digital agencies need to learn traditional branding and propagation.)
Clearly it’s become harder and harder to draw a line between what we’ve previously labeled advertising and digital. The best ideas transcend execution, media, and technology and combine all three. They have social media components to them. They happen in real time. And they call for incredibly diverse teams.
It’s all good news. For both sides of the agency equation and for clients as well. Storytellers will learn technology. Nerds will get more creative. And the outcomes will be more interesting. Will traditional agencies win? Or will all agencies end up tradigital?