So, is this TBWA's way of making a declaration that standalone digital shops are a thing of the past? Said Mr. Carroll: "I don't know if they are a thing of the past, but I can only judge based on what we're seeing in the market and what prospective clients are asking for. ... More and more [requests for proposals] and our clients are asking for integrated digital in our offerings." According to Mr. Carroll, seven of the last 10 RFPs TBWA has gotten from prospective clients have asked for integrated digital capabilities, and recent wins, such as work for Four Seasons and for Adidas, required that TBWA deliver both traditional and digital creative work.
Today, this article in Advertising Age is proudly proclaiming that the digital discipline should be integrated into the advertising agency because more and more clients are asking for it. As a guy that has been in the advertising game for 20-years and integrated digital into an advertising agency in 1997, this is not new news. Our agency, Greco Ethridge Group, won agency of the year from BtoB/AdAge in 1998 because of this integration and since then, it has always amazed me that the traditional agencies and their creatives always saw digital as a stand-alone to TV, Print and OOH. I always left meetings with partner traditional agencies scratching my head because the partner felt that any essence of digital would soil their TV idea.
The fact is, clients and brand marketers need to have their agency partners in little boxes neatly arranged so that they can ensure best-of-breed thinking. A marketing agency that has digital at its core cannot have advertising ideas as good as an advertising agency and an advertising agency, for sure, cant have digital ideas as good as a pure-play digital shop. Maybe there is some truth here, but I believe the slowdown for the integration of digital and advertising hasnt just been the reluctance of agency leadership, but the slow adoption of clients to accept that fact.
However, now as GenX and even GenY leaders come into prominent roles in brand organizations, that old way of thinking will start to disintegrate. Combine that with budget pressures to consolidate spending and resource constraints in managing multiple agencies and you have a perfect storm that will force innovation inside the traditional-minded ad agencies and force digital agencies to develop brand consulting and big idea capabilities.
It is a great time to be a marketer. Let's go.