"I was drawing in black and white and now I can paint in colour."
I love this quote from Moray MacLennan of M & C Saatchi (courtesy of Louise Brown), speaking at last weeks FT Digital Media and Broadcasting conference about the mix of media that agencies now have to play with. There's much doom mongering about the future of advertising agencies but I think if agencies are smart, they'll see the myriad possibilities afforded by fragmented media as a huge opportunity.
But only if they're smart. It is, after all, only advertising people who think in channels. Consumers don't. I agree with Andy that "'brand' is only the sum of the parts consumers happen upon" and so campaigns need to blend across different media and different touchpoints. Last year something like 539 brand budgets in the UK were spent 100% on TV. 107 advertisers used TV as their sole medium (source: Nielsen). Big brands with big campaigns from big organisations with big budgets. I believe in the power of context. The context that surrounds a message is critical to it's appreciation and it's effectiveness. Maybe those 539 brands needed just that sole context last year but somehow I think not. And it is this kind of planning that will defeat agencies from within.
Because the world is changing. Media is changing. Of-course it is. Portability issues will be resolved so that data and content will flow seamlessly from one device and platform to another. Consumers demand it, and when they get it they really use it. Witness the 'unheard of' levels of internet and search usage driven by the i-phone. 50 times higher than on any other handset. Google were so surprised by it they thought it was a mistake and made their engineers check the logs again.
We are moving at light speed to a place where all media owners (big or small, individual or corporate) are doing the same thing - producing content for ubiquitous distribution, across multiple channels. Mark Anderson of Strategic News Service:
"Content Has No Boundaries. Or: By Expanding, the Web Disappears. Content will be provisioned to every device, making the “Web” seem an outdated idea, like “multimedia.” As it moves onto phones and TVs, it becomes invisible. I want the service; I don’t want its history. The separation between print and Web providers becomes outdated. Everyone distributes everywhere."
"We’re all in the same business now, the business of making things people really love"