Monday, January 18, 2016

Heads are rolling in the advertising scene!

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
Every other day, the scenario repeats itself, you read, see, or get a press release which says: "After (insert impressive number of years) of service to the (name of reputable advertising/media agency), Mr (insert big shot name) and (name of reputable advertising/media agency) have decided to part ways. (Insert sentence of amicable mutual decision). (Insert sentence of how appreciative the agency was). (Mention transitory period as a consultant). (Name of person who is getting the corner office instead along with his/her credentials). (Formulatic end sentence to the press release)."
Indeed, the Dubai/Beirut/Riyadh/Doha scene is in full tumble. One after the other, big names are going away. I am not talking of the famous big putsch period which happened a few years ago where CEOs were ousted from their agencies and which sent the Schadenfreude-o-meter reeling in the circles - this "crystal night" (another German reference) is painful and promises to take a longer period to happen. Those who think they are immune, please reconsider your strategies.
Some agencies are just that - smart. They see it coming, they already prepared themselves. What I speak of is of course the digital. Look at Leo Burnett, they recognized that the audience is shifting towards looking at ads on devices, which made them integrate digital at the basis on any strategy. By tbat, I mean that digital is not just inserted over and above a pre-existing campaign. Sure, like everyone else, they are still testing and navigating the waters, knowing that "traditional media" will never fully die. But to their credit, they are anticipating something that is surely going to come and sweep things.
Another agency, which I shall not name, has just accepted the resignation of its digital director, to  replace him they got a digital media executive - meaning a "seller". While their strategist was on board, they failed to understand that you need a completely cohesive strategy which engulfs digital to make your campaign work. Some of their clients, still struggling with the concept, did not get it, which of course allowed the agency to go on scot free - but for how long? Remember, we are living in a shifting universe, the readership of this blog is as high as any magazine, minus the rent, the staff, the printing, the distribution, the costs and all else.
Sure, with all due to respect to Goggles and "Video killed radio star" which ironically was the first clip to air on MTV, radio is still here. And television will still be here. But digital will creep on all of these media, and the earlier agencies recognize this as part of a strategy, the lesser we will hear of press releases that go... ""After (insert impressive number of years) of service to the (name of reputable advertising/media agency)..."