Advertisers are starting to squeeze their agencies hard. And it’s raising some fundamental questions about the shape of the entire business. Where does a creative industry go when its work is seen as something that can be traded like a commodity, negotiated upon retrospectively, reduced to a numbers game? The answer seems to be to use your creative skills more creatively, to generate revenue streams beyond the traditional advertising model. Which is exactly why the companies that were last week officially anointed adland’s best in class for 2008 are challenging the definitions of what an advertising agency actually is. Take Mother, unveiled last week as Campaign’s Ad Agency of the Year. Mother produced a movie, wrote a play, published a comic and made some great standout advertising.
Hamilton Nolan at Gawker wrote an interesting post about the decline of good advertising on television. It’s been quite noticeable lately (in New York at least) how many prime-time advertising spots have been bought by what seems to be infomercial and low-production-value spots. The glitzy Lexus ads have been replaced with advertisements for smock-like blankets with long-sleeves, Amish-made faux-fireplace heaters and strange, mouth-aligned goatee trimmers.