The Future of Advertising Needs Doing, Not Talking


Despite all the negativity you might read on Adrants, there are a great many minds in the advertising industry. Many of those minds work within the wall of an advertising agency or in a client marketing organization. Just as many work outside those walls as consultants, freelancers, speakers, authors, journalists, serial entrepreneuers and the like. Todd Copelvitz, a member of the first group for a period of time, is now a member of the latter group. Copelvitz has been very active in the interactive space for at least 15 years, most recently in the area of agency-side interactive and social media for several Dallas ad agencies.

Todd, who says agencies and media companies have become lazy in the face of the fast changing media landscape and shifting media consumption patterns, suggests all of those in the latter group get off their collective asses, stop bitching about what's wrong with the ad industry and put all those pontifications into practice by starting a company that leaves the old behind and acknowledges the new. Many people have made this call before. Some, because it's easy. Others, because it's a "those who can't do, teach" kind of thing. Further, some do it simply because it's what their good at. Todd hopes to turn theory into practice.

In the Adrants Discussion group, a call similar to this was made six or so months ago. Everyone was jazzed up about creating some kind of cool, new virtual agency that would dump un-needed bureaucracy in favor of a streamlined operation that put into practice what it preached. As far as I can tell, it hasn't gone anywhere. If I'm wrong, which I hope I am, I'm sure someone will correct me.

Conversely, and in no way belittling any efforts I am not aware of, Todd is a guy who could actually make this happen. In fact, there may be an intriguing model to follow in a company recently launched by fifteen year ad vet John Palumbo who started Big Heads, an agency that is staffed with people outside the realm of the typical marketer. The goal is to dump old paradigms, old habits, old classifications and start anew. It may or may not work but Palumbo is one who is willing to try. Copelvitz is too.

As a potential guide to anyone interested in considering a leap in this direction, there's a pretty good road map to follow. It's called Life After the 30-Second Spot, a book written by deep thinker Joe Jaffe. In the book, after deconstructing what's wrong with the current model of advertising, Jaffe lays out a clear plan with ten approaches which anyone interested in doing this can take. I'm thinking Jaffe and Copelvitz should get together and create something we can stop simply talking about and begin to touch concretely. As Copelvitz urges, it's not a closed party. Anyone with a desire to leave the lazy, monolithic paradigm behind is welcome to sign up.

by Steve Hall    May-26-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Opinion   

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The headline says it all- its the truest statement about advertising I have read all year.

Too much bitching and too little doing is what's wrong with the industry. Agecies that go out on a limb and take risks should be rewarded, not chastised.

Agency heads ask yourself this: what do you spend more time discussing? what's wrong with the industry and how bad the latest campaign featured on adrants was? or talking about how to leverage new media and do things that have never been done before?


Posted by: dj mirateck on May 26, 2006 11:20 AM

Consider it done.

Todd, give me a shout ( and let's talk...

Great post Steve!

Posted by: Joseph Jaffe on May 26, 2006 11:21 AM

I'd like to think we're doing it - and our clients are doing it too. Johnson & Johnson, HBO, Fox... Lots of other forward thinking agencies we work with and love...

But also other teams that don't fit the niche of "interactive agency" like Future Now (look for their upcoming book Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? and buy it buy it buy it. It's finally something that says how to do something new. Those guys are the bomb.

There is definately too much talk and not enough action. Way too much safety, and not enough experimentation.

Posted by: Sean on May 26, 2006 6:34 PM

I came from trad-ad. Was creative director of a big agency up in Montreal.

Five years ago, started web-ad shop. Still small. Having a ball. Clients are coming. They tell me that trad agencies are stalling future. Can this be right? Of course it is.

I agree. Do it. What is holding all you guys? I truly don't understand why one would want to do bad work for unsatisfied clients that want to down at consummers that have better things to do.

Posted by: Martin Ouellette on May 28, 2006 7:51 PM

Great post. We need evangelists within agencies to shake things up, dial up the crazy and find within those places those people who "get it" and do things with them.

But when that evangelism turns into more frustrations, lets stop talking and go out and do some walking on our own. We're wasting our evangelism on people who don't and don't want to get it.

But we cant ever let the voice and the volume go down. Wherever we apply it.

Posted by: Hashem Bajwa on June 1, 2006 5:42 PM

Yep, I like this one. I can just see David Ogilvy with a BIG GRIN on his face! I like the book "Life After the 30-Second Spot" too.

Posted by: Roy Coffman on June 12, 2006 4:00 PM