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Strategic insights
RESET: Advertising Agencies in 2015

You have to help brands bring out their inner passion, a passion that most brands have forgotten they had. If a brand has a product but has no idea why, your job is not to make it work by imagining a brand story.

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Written by on April 3, 2012

In my continual series about what you need to do if you were to start from scratch in 2015, it's time to look at advertising agencies. What would they be like in the future?

The first thing to realize is that in 2015, Facebook is 11 years old, and Twitter has been in existence for 9 years. Google+ is no longer a new thing, nor is Pinterest. The shift to social media will be something you did *before*, instead it's now the 'new normal'.

At the same time, the decline in the print industry has reached a critical point. The shift in advertising has almost completely shifted from a passive one-way-exposure to two-way+social. Time spent is mostly divided up between on-demand TV and social sharing, which is now exceeding all other forms of communications - combined!

These, of course are just predictions. But this is the future that all the trend curves point to.

All of this completely disrupts what it means to be an advertising agency, and we are already seeing that today. Today, agencies no longer refer to themselves as 'advertising' agencies. Instead they are PR agencies, media agencies, social agencies, web agencies, communication agencies and a ton of other fancy names. Each one trying to figure out what it means to 'not be a traditional advertising agency'.

Today's agency world is in complete disarray and even the simple act of defining their purpose has become almost impossible.

But before we look to 2015, let's look back to the 1960s, a time when being an advertising agency was much, much simpler.

Back then a company's product division would create an average product for average people. They would take product to an advertising agency to somehow make it exciting for people to buy.

A brilliant example is what we see in the TV series 'Mad Men', specifically the episode about the Kodak Carrousel. So Kodak creates this image projector, but apparently has no idea why people would want to buy it (a common problem). So, they reach out to a number of advertising agencies to have them come up with some kind of idea.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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