Digital ad revolution

Traditional advertising agencies will not survive in the digital age, being replaced by a lot of consultancies who will turn brand advertising on its head.

These are the predictions of Bob Garfield, an internationally renowned columnist, critic and broadcaster who spoke recently at an ASDMA forum. His predictions were also written up in magazine marketing.

Garfield points out that mass advertising has thrived in a world of mass media. But what is next? What happens as mass media comes up against digital and lots of communication channels that are giving consumers uninterrupted control of their viewing?

Broadcasters who have been selling audience numbers and economies of scale will find that the dwindling audience numbers will not justify the high costs of securing air time.

Mass advertising will be replaced by a better model. Marketers will do business directly with the consumer and agencies will be marginalised.

Marketing and branding will be conducted without much reliance on the 30 second spot or glossy spread.

Casualties will be many, he predicts, because while there is a lot of experience and skills in the agencies that will be lost when culturally or financially they will be unable to adapt to the new world.

Consultancies that will take the place of agencies will need some way to be remunerated for their thinking as they will lack media revenue.

Advertisers are also facing the same conundrum.

He says they are not incentivising staff to find the path to the future but for squeezing the most out of the present.

The digital media will be a great equaliser especially in developing countries but a digital underclass could develop especially in countries like Australia where broadband access is not national.


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