Web 2.0, Like All Good Things, Will Be Incorporated By Enterprising Marketers

Former adman turned blogvertiser, Hugh MacLeod, is hearing things.

So a lot of clients have been recently asking their ad agencies, “So what can you do for us in Web 2.0?” And the agencies have been replying, “Lots! Lots and lots and lots and lots!” Bullshit. Ad agencies have so far been hopeless in this space. I don’t know of ONE SINGLE piece of work coming out of a traditional ad agency in the last five years that has been even halfway original, thought provoking or effective.

Hugh loves to challenge and provoke. Plus, tearing Madison Avenue a new one is good for his new paradigm business.
In answer to the MacLeodian provocation, I might say Fallon’s United spots make great TV. Or I could say Crispin Porter + Bogusky has turned in some great work. I particularly like the inroads they’re making into content. Their Dr. Angus coffee table book is one example.
Hugh’s Web 2.0-specific challenge is tougher to defend. User generated content, while all the rage online, is a total 180 for most of the craftsmen and women who carefully make communications. See the Nike/Wieden story from earlier today for more on that topic.
Since “Madison Avenue” is the place, or thing, Hugh rails against, let’s pause and examine it. It’s an imaginary place and a real place. To me Madison Avenue is like “the music industry.” I’m in it, but firmly on the indie side. Thus, my own stance, and standing therein, is that of an outsider. It always has been, thanks to my career in high tech B2B, sales promotions and event marketing. Never given the opportunity to make prime time TV, I’ve had to find another way. Every time.
If I have a point to make in this ramble it is this—it’s simply a matter of time before the ad biz figures Web 2.0 out. There have been some ugly stumbles and there will be more. But there will also be notable successes. I’m working on one now. Hopefully, you are too.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.