The advertising industry might be the most award-heavy industry there is. Many advertising professionals go great lengths to debunk and downplay the importance of these awardshows (really guys, if you think they’re b*llshit, stop doing them). But with marketing and advertising moving from ads to acts, more and more agencies will be beaten at their own game: the advertising awards.
Marketing and advertising are changing from ads to acts. It’s less about creating a funny print ad or TV spot, it is about REALLY making a difference in people’s lives. It is about doing something remarkable and putting a spotlight on it. In other words, more companies start realising everything they do is communication, not just their advertising campaigns.
Just have a look at the Cannes Lions last year and some recent award shows to see what I mean. Take Volkswagen Fun Theory, KLM Surprise, Brammo’s Shocking Barack, Pilot Handwriting and even the Samsung Shakedown. That’s not about ads, that’s about acts.
The more advertising agencies start to create a different kind of campaigns, the more they will face other kinds of companies that have a huge experience advantage and that will probably beat them.
- More and more campaigns will be about measuring results and proving return on investment. Research agencies have years of experience in that.
- More and more campaigns will be about solving real business problems. Strategic consultancy firms eat that for breakfast.
- More and more campaigns will be about making existing consumer touchpoints worth sharing or at least, extremely pleasant. Well, even research agencies do that. My employer InSites Consulting turned a customer callcenter with an NPS of -31 into a significantly more pleasant customer callcenter with an NPS of -1 by implementing a simple feedback loop. You could even argue that is an Effie case.
- More and more campaigns will be about generating the right kind of buzz. PR agencies have a long history in creating stuff that travels through mainstream media and are catching up in the digital world.
- More and more campaigns will be about smart, new uses of technology. Startups own this space. And advertising agencies realize this.
- More and more campaigns will be about DOING things insteads of TELLING things. Product development companies and even advertisers themselves have great experience in this field.
And yes, advertising agencies are creative powerhouses. But advertising just isn’t all about creativity anymore, it is about smart ideas (read Astrid Groenewegen’s excellent post about that). And yes, research agencies, strategic consultancy firms, PR agencies, startups, product development companies and advertisers DO have the skills to come up with creative solutions and smart ideas.
The more advertising and communications will be about these skills, the more advertising agencies will encounter specialists that WILL kick their asses.
They better prepare.