Smoke And Rails

Paul Johnson, writing for Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary makes a good point about interactive capabilities at traditional shops.

There are a lot of ad agencies talking a mean game and touting their capabilities in pitches. To paraphrase the head of a web-development firm (after I plied him with a few cocktails), 90% of the small agencies out there chasing interactive business have one guy on staff who knows anything, and if they’re lucky maybe a Flash developer. According to my buddy, they’re subcontracting all their development work to him, and he’s growing at 50%. And the word from my friends on the client side is that every agency knocking on their doors can show you at least one respectable interactive program. Just don’t scratch too deep.

Isn’t that the history of our business revealed anew?
We always have the capabilities to answer any client problem, whether we do or not. For, no one’s going to miss out on that incremental income. We’ll figure it out back at the shop, we say to each other in the taxi to the airport.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. You’re right: no new news here. Even the vaunted CP&B outsources digital. Agencies break in with creative and choreography and then scale accordingly.