Turtles Cross Road of Molasses Faster Than Agencies Adapt to Future

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After reading a post on AgencySpy entitled Mullen's CCO Promotes Crowdsourcing in AdWeek Opine which commented on Edward Boches participation in a gathering of 30 agency folks at SXSW, I commented to share my thoughts. Here's what I wrote (with some additions):

In an ideal world, this scenario (crowdsourcing-ish cloud creative) could and would work. In today's world, it's not so clear cut. The changes needed to make this model work go so drastically against current agency models that this sort of change, in my opinion, can only come with generational change.

I'm not saying current agency management won't go for this sort of thing but it's not easy to let go of a business model that, for the most part, has worked quite well for a very long time.

It's very clear change is needed. It's very clear the changes needed will be very difficult to achieve. Sharing "secrets" runs counter to the very fiber of the ad agency model. And all too often "borrowed" ideas not so surprisingly appear out of shops right around the corner from where the original idea supposedly was born. The big idea is an ad agency's currency and worth. Sharing that will be very difficult.

Crowdsourcing might be one answer to agencies' current conundrum. But it's more than that. It's the way media is consumed. It's the way media is created and shared and forwarded and commented on and re-purposed and, well, thrown into a blender and mashed until it takes on a completely different form...and then re-consumed and re-forwarded and re-commented and re-re-purposed and, well, you get the picture.

I understand where Edward's going with this but his version of crowdsourcing sounds like something else we're all quite familiar with: freelancing. A freelancer works at many different places and takes the experienced gleaned while working for one shop to another. Of course, the way Edward envisions it is very different and perhaps doable.

An idea is powerful. Many people view ideas as currency. They will bank them and save them for their own personal future use. Sharing/donating ideas is a big shift in mindset. But sharing/donating can lead to a better final product. Not always but it can.

It's very healthy that conversations such as the one Edward took part in are happening. More are needed. Many, many more. Things are not going to change overnight but things do, and will, and need to change. Whether agencies like it or not. So it would behoove as many as possible to, ahem, "join the conversation."

by Steve Hall    Mar-23-10   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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