Much has been said about the death of the big agency -- and even, the dumbing down of creative in a digital-first world. But Susan Credle, the incoming global chief creative at FCB, thinks the real issue isn't the death of the big agency, but the deterioration of quality of advertising.
Credle, who joined the Digiday Podcast this week, said that what she worries the most about isn't whether agencies will survive, but what needs to be done to go back to the days of great advertising is that agencies need to take seriously hard look at the immense amount of "offensive" garbage that they're putting out in the world.
"Just look at banner ads," she said. "We need less of them. We don’t even know how to break type on banner ads. It’s disgusting and offensive to me. There are words at the bottom of the left-hand corner for no reason. It’s not thoughtful. Advertising online needs to be like architecture. Sure, you can build a box that keeps you warm and provides shelter. But it drags down society because it's ugly. So you should put out actually beautiful architecture."
Agencies usually have discrete roles in the media world. They create ad or buy them, rarely both. But they always rely on media companies for distributing their messages.
Maybe that’s not how it should work. Jason Stein, CEO of 130-person social content agency Laundry Service, believes agencies are squarely competing with publishers, which are at heart brand content engines. Laundry Service, which was recently acquired by Wasserman Media Group, has launched a new unit called Cycle which is a media distribution are of 1,000 social media influencers and 1,700 athletes.
“BuzzFeed and Vice are our biggest competitors now and in the future,” Stein said on this week’s Digiday Podcast. “The only difference between what we’re doing and what BuzzFeed is doing is we’re using brands’ channels and people’s channels, and BuzzFeed is using BuzzFeed Video, BuzzFeed Food and so forth. But BuzzFeed executes media buys. They’re getting a content budget and they’re executing a media buy behind that content. So much of those views are through media.”
Vivian Schiller sees fallout coming in the shift of publishing to platforms like Facebook. It will favor not just those that are nimble but those that are larger. The key for publishers, the former head of news at Twitter said, is to focus on the interests of platforms, and where they align with the publisher’s.