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Cannes Lions 2010: Time to rethink the new agency model

24-June-2010
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Cannes Lions 2010: Time to rethink the new agency model

The agency business model has been seeing changes for many years now, but the core of the model has not been impacted much. According to the R/GA team, it was time to rethink the agency model, and give another boost to the creative industry.

The speakers included Nick Walls, EVP & Chief Creative Officer – North America, R/GA, and Barry Wacksman, EVP & Chief Growth Officer, R/GA.

Big ideas can live forever, and to prove that Walls cited examples of political campaigns of 1800, Michelin tyre of 1900, stating each of those works had the potential to win a Titanium Lion even today.

He spoke of the agency of 2005, where strategy, creative, media led to results, and which evolved to strategy, collaboration, great creative thinking and media neutrality, leading to measurable results.

Wacksman quoted Hegarty on how technology was not just an idea. He said, “Technology has transformed everything we are doing. Television revolutionised advertising, and a reason for that was that it was mass media and that was the thing to sell products to clients. But now, they are not getting the same results from television anymore and even though television is not going to just disappear, it has run the course.”

According to the duo, there were three reasons why agency businesses needed to rethink. Media is less effective now, contexts are multiplying and brands are being commoditised. There is a paradigm shift, where there are diminishing results from mass media, and smaller investments, but better results from newer media.

Context is the fundamental idea for the digital age. In 1964, it was easy to catch a consumer because there was a set pattern, where the day began with the newspaper, radio while driving to office, trades and billboards, back home to TV and a magazine for leisure time. But 2010 has all that and much more. The challenge of reaching a consumer is stronger today.

He then enumerated 10 contexts that reiterated why agencies needed to change. The kind of information and the manner in which it was sought had changed. Transaction was driving the dot com era. Participation drove the Web 2.0 revolution. Next on Wacksman’s list were Conversation, Application, Location, Diversion, Aggregation, Visualisation and Interruption.

Walls explained that given these 10 contextual changes, from line extension and metaphor, the shift had to be to innovation and demonstration. Reimagining the brand, and how it was going to make its place in a consumer’s life was what agencies had to understand and execute today. As clichéd as it may sound, the future is digital.

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