If “Media Ruled” – agencies eliminated.

10 09 2008

Brian Reich, the author of Media Rules!: Mastering Today’s Technology to Connect With and Keep Your Audience says that the future of advertising lies in the elimination of ad agencies. He states they know half as much as their client, half as much as the medium (TV, in his case) and do nothing but confuse the message leaving the consumer “screwed.”

We don’t have a copy of Media Rules! in the office, so there might be more to Reich’s point than what we saw in adage’s 3 minute video, but a couple of additional points need to be made:

1. Television stations and networks are in the business of selling their airtime (programming), which we commonly call commercials. Their production companies make the programs that capture their audiences, thus the airtime to be sold. Some are able to make money at this.

2.  Ad agencies are in the business of making these commercials, but that’s just one iota of their capabilities. These days, you can’t be an ad agency without being a communicator first – and communicating means being skillfully and artistically competent with corporate strategy, branding, research… well, the list is too long to go on.

Now, it doesn’t make much sense to remove the creative production of messaging that agencies supply, but this debate could be lengthy unless we admit that ad agencies need to be much more invested on both sides of the game. Also, it’s ridiculous to think that every company (in this case, client) knows not only their product, but their market, the media available, the options that they face now and the challenges they’ll have well into the future. Thus, a healthy revenue channel for agencies: research – not historical, not qualitative or quantitative data, but forward research and insight.

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One response

12 09 2008
Brian Reich

I would be happy to help you get a copy of my book, so you can see how I walk through the argument. There is more to it, and I’m always interested to discuss. Let me know, thanks. Brian

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