Generally speaking, agencies of record are no more.
Today, even the fattest of Ad Cats are happy to take on projects. Has this change ushered in an era of egalitarianism? Or has it turned ad men and women into fine young cannibals?
A Lament for Lost Days
The breakdown of the AOR relationship between agency and client (that sustained the agency business for decades) is one of the topics adressed by Mirco Pasqualini, head of design at Ogilvy and author of the new book, Agencies & Brands in the Experience Economy: Management Organization.
Here is a two-paragraph excerpt from the book featured on Pasqualini’s Medium page:
It was clear already at the beginning of 2000 to the community developing around the new economy, that digital would become the new reference system, incorporating the old media system, and that large agencies, especially integrated ones, were increasingly giants with feet of clay or ‘walking dead’ in some cases.
This is because with the development of the digital world and the so-called New Economy, big brands noticed how the ROI of advertising budgets no longer justified such investments and a more democratic access to the digital system allowed the brands themselves to be able to build their own system, integrate it with others and directly manage the relationship with their audience.
I have not read the book yet, so I do not know where the author goes with this narrative. I do work in the agency business and I write about it five days a week, which leads me to laugh out loud at the idea that brands are able to “directly manage the relationship with their audience.” It’s a concept that died in execution. Or to put it in cinematic terms from another time, it found its way to the cutting room floor.
There have been so many digital daydreams over the last two decades. It’s hard for me to remember them all or list them here so we can all laugh at the inanity. I do vividly recall one of the primary fantasies…
According to legend, The Digerati was going to use technology to locate and then motivate prospective customers to act.
PREVIOUSLY ON ADPULP.COM: There’s Just So Much Digital Smoke Being Blown Up Our Asses