Is Your Agency Model “Perfect” For A Complex Age?

I had the good fortune to meet Faris Yakob at MIT in 2007. We were there to hear from Henry Jenkins and company on transmedia storytelling, and other developments at the edge.

Today, Yakob works as Chief Innovation Officer for MDC Partners and New York agency KBS+. Here he is sharing some cogent thoughts on where the business is headed.

I love what Yakob says about the agency model not being broken.

I don’t think the agency model is broken at all, actually. The genuine ad agency model is perfect for a complex age, in the sense that agencies by their very nature separate concepts and ideas from executions. By doing that you can theoretically execute any kind of idea as long as you are capable of having that kind of idea. It may be an advertisement, it may be a piece of software, it may be an installation, whatever that is. I think what is perhaps broken is an agency process that can only lead to advertising as we traditionally understand it. That’s simply too narrow for the world we live in.

Yakob also suggests that agency owners and leaders make a strategic decision about where to take their companies. He says agencies can continue to make TV and print, or they can invest in software and services that allow them to create new kinds of solutions.

Both are valid paths. Which one is right for you?



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.