Agencies: Traditional agencies too resistant to digital … Digital agencies not ready to lead … UK shops losing their touch …

Agency bosses too old and change resistant, claims Sorrell
WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell (aged 64) claims that brands are not spending enough online because the people who run their agencies are too old and resistant to change. Delivering the opening keynote session at ad:tech New York, Sorrell criticised brands for investing an average of just 13 per cent of their marketing budget online despite the rapid increase in digital media consumption.

sir martin sorrell

Why Digital Agencies Aren’t Ready to Lead
Ana Andjelic opines: “Any conversation about digital marketing these days includes at least one mention that traditional agencies just “don’t get it.” While this may be correct, it’s equally true that digital agencies are not ready to take the lead. Look at the typical digital agency. It excels in exploring new horizons. It supports a flat and loose organizational structure in which a developer has access to the CEO. And it makes sure everyone’s opinion is heard. It’s one big crazy family. Digital agencies are having fun experimenting with ideas, technologies and strategies to find new alternatives superior to obsolete ways of doing marketing. That’s what they do best. The problem is, this is the only thing they are doing. When they are asked to actually follow through on their ideas, they often come up short. It is because they don’t know the business of marketing (or want to know it, for that matter), and they rarely have the organizational structure or past practices to guide them.”

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The London ad scene, which has long produced groundbreaking TV commercials that are the envy of New York creatives, is suffering through an identity crisis. Slowness in adapting to the digital reality is causing some intense navel-gazing, with many concluding that U.K. agencies and marketers have to get up to speed — and fast. David Droga grew up in Australia admiring British advertising as the best in the world, and at age 29 was made executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi London. Mr. Droga has since moved on — he left London for New York in 2003 — but he claims that U.K. creativity is still pretty much back where he left it nearly seven years ago. “There is no question that TV, press and outdoor are still the primary focus in the U.K.,” Mr. Droga said. “There is less integration there, and a tendency to default to the safety of TV and posters.” I might point out to Dave that this is probably true of the big shops in the US …

Possibly related

Sir Martin Sorrell: Rupert Murdoch’s pay wall plan is right (telegraph.co.uk)

Profits halved at advertising firm WPP (guardian.co.uk)

Does Sir Martin have another motive for peddling his alphabet soup? (telegraph.co.uk)

WPP profits down by nearly 50% (guardian.co.uk)

WPP sees little evidence of ‘stouter hearts’ needed to spend during downturn (telegraph.co.uk)

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