Advertising Faces Challenges

Advertisers to agencies: Pay attention!
Postmodernism threatens every aspect of the modernist society in which we live. Whether you view it as “good” or not, depends entirely on your perspective, for when your fatted calf is getting whacked, it’s hard to think joyful thoughts about the whacker. Take the advertising industry, for example. The Ad Agency is a fine example of modernist thinking, spending somebody else’s money on their behalf in the name of order and special knowledge. But trying times bring true colors to the surface, and the American Advertising Federation’s latest study on trends in advertising is ablaze with hues of truth. What I like about this study is that it asks the same questions of advertisers that it does of agencies, and there are revealing differences in the responses.

73% of advertisers agreed that new technologies such as TiVo may threaten traditional advertising formats compared to only 61% of ad agency reps. After all, the agencies need those traditional formats for their bread and butter. 68% of agency leaders viewed the convergence of content and marketing as a significant trend, while only 36% of advertisers agreed. In terms of challenges facing the industry, 36% of advertisers felt that developing compelling creative is the top challenge facing them. None, that’s zero, of the agency leaders rated that as tops. What’s tops for them? Demonstrating return on investment for clients (25%). *sigh*

There have always been differences of opinion between agencies and advertisers, and it’s been healthy in separating what works from what doesn’t work. It’s a bit different today, however, for industry leaders of every hue need to recognize that Postmoderns don’t and won’t abide by the rules of past. The advertisers seem to “get” that creative content has never been more important and that PVRs pose a huge threat to their ability to reach people. The agencies would do well to listen, or they may find their clients looking elsewhere.

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