Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Future of Advertising | Fast Company

The Future of Advertising | Fast Company

Wow. This article from Fast Company is honest, insightful, scathing, and terrifying all at once. I'm about as close to "digital native" as you can be in your late 30s, but the truth is it's not an age issue. I know 2o year olds who don't seem to know anything but Facebook and 60 year olds who are into augmented reality.

I started with the Internet boom, transitioning from a career in theatre. I started as a "Web coordinator" at a financial company and then eventually moved to a digital boutique shop. Now, I work for a WPP agency that is a legacy analogue shop. I'm part of a large wave of people, including our CEO, helping to transform an old school agency into something modern, nimble and agile. Considering many of our clients are in healthcare and pharma, it's even more challenging than others. One of the biggest challenges agencies and clients will have in the next five years is knowing who to listen to. Poor choices, like putting the intern in charge of social media, are happening every day at both clients and agencies, because the people in charge sometimes don't have the knowledge to make the right decisions.

Programs like Hyper Island, mentioned in the article, are a great step forward. But the truth is, first you have to recognize you have problem. Too many agency creatives, planners, strategists, developers, and account people are not part of the "creator" class. They don't blog. They don't share creative online. They don't experiment with ever new cool thing that launches online. They don't even act as "conversationalists."

The same is true for the clients making the decisions. How can you expect to make smart decisions about how to incorporate everything from QR codes to social media to augmented reality into your marketing campaigns, if you don't understand what they are, who uses them, and why?

I guess one option is to figure out who to listen to, and take their advice. Not follow them blindly, but listen. Better yet, truly collaborate with them.

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