The future of advertising and agencies

This week, the IPA published a report snappily titled Social Media Futures – The future of advertising and agencies in a networked society. A 10-year perspective, the launch of which was covered both by the FT:

Two-thirds of advertising agencies are not prepared for the industry changes prompted by social networks and new forms of digital media

and Campaign:

For agencies used to what one senior executive calls a “broadcast mindset”, the social networking phenomenon and the way it empowers consumers can seem seriously scary. Which makes this week’s warning from the IPA that, when it comes to social media, the majority of agencies “aren’t getting it” all the more disturbing.

The Campaign piece includes some good analysis of the state of play, including this from Mark Collier, Managing Partner at Dare:

Social media should be viewed as a discipline in its own right and doing it properly will require genuine specialists who live and breathe it. But it will need to be closely allied to core marketing strategy and execution if it is to be relevant and effective.

And this from Steve Henry, the former TBWA\London Executive Creative Director:

The current agency model needs rethinking because it’s run out of steam. Remember that a lot of digital agencies are ten years old and you have to ask if they’re flexible enough to seize the opportunities on behalf of clients. Many clients are starting to feel that the agency they need doesn’t exist. That’s to say one that understands the mechanics of social networking as well as delivering the upstream strategy and thinking.

These are the very reasons we set-up We Are Social in June last year (combined with a similar malaise in the PR industry), and I’m confident that what we’re doing addresses Mark and Steve’s concerns head on.

As part of the launch of the report, the IPA also held an event on Monday evening, which Nathan, Sandrine and myself went along to – nicely summed up by PHD’s Dan Hosford:

Essentially, the IPA gathered a group of industry social media champions across agencies & media owners. Then bored them

There’s more detail, if you want it, in posts from Anjali Ramachandran, Graeme Harrison, Amelia Torode and John V Willshire.

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