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Advertising Agencies Facing the Digital Revolution NJayr 010510

Advertising Agencies Facing the Digital Revolution NJayr 010510

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Published by Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

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Published by: Lex Bradshaw-Zanger on May 05, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Traditionally, the generation of ideas in the traditional advertising agencies’ model is the role of a

creative department. Within this department, one or multiple “creative teams” are responsible of

generating big creative ideas, while ensuring the creative development corresponding to such

ideas. As we could argue, this method is reductive internally, as only a small number of persons

are given the opportunity to propose and express their ideas, while there are hundreds of

employees who could bring a substantial knowledge or added value in the creative process.

In an industry that is considered as the industry of creativity and ideas, it looks surprising that

the creative development process remains a closed and reductive process. Such process is

supposed to give birth to the most creative, entertaining and innovative ideas in different ranges

of businesses, while engaging brand communications with their audiences. To encourage the

creation of the best ideas, innovation and creativity within the organization should also come

from external knowledge. Agencies should encourage a more open model that would enable

creatives to receive and share information, insights, and knowledge with people, consumers,

and innovators around the world.

The examples of Doritos and Converse, which we explained in the second part of this project,

demonstrate how challenging customers could both generate engagement for brands and bring

strong end results in terms of creativity and sales. These examples should push advertising

agencies to understand that they must benefit from the ideas of people around them, including

the customers of their brands, to craft better ideas and more innovative communication


To make that happen, agencies should build online platforms, exactly the same way P&G and

Dell did with Connect + Develop and DellStorm, to encourage people to participate and share

their ideas in response to precise briefs. In that case, the role of the creative department in

agencies would change from focusing only on the generation of ideas from scratch, to

compare, choose, and take benefit from the best ideas from people, in order to come out with

the best idea, and the best creative solutions to take that idea to market. See Figure 3.3.


Figure 3.3. Open Innovation model applied to the generation of ideas in advertising agencies

This open-innovation model should benefit agencies in the generation of ideas. In that case, the

organization would benefit from external collaboration and external ideas to concentrate only in

the production and the development of the ideas that it finds more relevant. In that model, the

advertising agency should rather build on technological and production capabilities, and benefit

from external creativity in the generation of ideas, taking advantage from them by mastering

their production and development. In the other side, the advertiser (client) would keep a

stronger focus on creativity, while needing an agency that focus more in the production of

creative ideas both generated by the company and external collaborators.

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