Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The big fightback in the creative stakes

Interesting this week in that I've been judging New York Festival Awards, and was one of the judges on Banner Blog and Creative Brief who's hot and who's cold in the digital agency rankings

There has been much debate from the many digital agencies who didn't enter 'Hot and Cold' who thought that it was all a bit shitty in that you had a bunch of digital creative's judging the work and it was only judged on pure creativity which is incorrect and as we all know in the digital world it can never be as straight forward as that. I posted on Amnesia's blog my thoughts and why this should continue. Ash the CD over at Soap who kicked started this (I bet the poor bastard wish he never brought it up) he did try to put each agency under different segments from full service, pure digital to production houses,this helps mark out the digital landscape but we all agree it still has some way to go.

But besides all this and the hand bag fighting that has gone on,what has been very interesting is to see that the top end of the chart many are 'full service' agencies, I must state 'full service' and not 'full service digital agencies' this is an important distinstiction we at Bullseye are a full service digital agency as we only do digital.

I also noticed while judging NYF that again the full service agencies seem to be performing well along side more specialist trendy boutique outfits- there's not much in between apart from your AKQA's and Co.

Another little trend that I have also noticed and that I reckon is connected to the above observation is that I'm seeing all these new job titles I have never heard of but they are popping up all over the place at the moment for instance I've seen: 'head of ideas' and 'lead digital advertising division' I bet the person who has this on their business card feels very smug, but what does these titles say about the companies? The companies who invented these 'creative' job titles will fail because they should have had this in place before they kicked started the company. Trying to reinvent yourself sometimes works but on the whole you are so desperate to 'turn the tide' it's to late, either you go under or get bought out.These two new roles created are hardly from the hottest creative shops and there's a lot of agencies who are still trying to find their feet or find new shoes, if you haven't found your niche by now, you could be in trouble.

So what did the full service agencies start doing and why are they starting to make in roads into the digital space? They stopped fooling themselves in thinking they have a digital offering apart from outsourcing the odd banner ad, they went back to what they're good at, and that is; coming up with the ideas. They got the idea and THEN they looked at the channels including digital, if the idea needed to be online they got the talent who could work within that space in bringing their ideas to life by not outsourcing but hiring full digital teams or in some instances buying independent successful digital agencies. That's why I think they are doing well now they stopped chasing the digital bandwagon for a while and they've now caught up.

So what next?

Some of the bigger shops will carry on and grow their digital department and those will be the ones who were a very good creative outfit from the start, the others will struggle and fizzly out in the space and carrying on getting the odd banner to do. The smaller specialist outfits like mobile and SEO companies will grow or get bought out. Pure full service digital shops will grow if they started out as a creative agency most will get bought out or merge with other digital agencies, but a word of warning, they will grow in revenue but if they get too big in the number of employees they have on their books they will go the same way as many production houses have gone, they will need to produce work quicker to substain the numbers they could turn into full production houses and not grow as margins become tighter.

So expect a lot of mergers in the coming months, there's a lot of shifting sand within the industry at the moment so we'll see what the landscape will look like in the coming months.

But there's one thing that will never shift; the idea will always win whatever company you work for, interesting times and exciting depending which corner you are in. Ding ding.

Let us know what you think, agree? or disgree?

Black Balloons - Without the hot air

I like simple ideas, and I especially like simple ideas that tell me something I didn’t know in an engaging manner. I’d saw this campaign on TV first and, on first viewing, thought; “What a great idea!”.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s the TV ad where they use a black balloon to visually show the amount of energy we waste around the house. It’s all part of the Government’s ‘You have the power. Save Energy’ campaign.
From viewing the ad I learned that a balloon can hold on average 50 grams of greenhouse gas, and from someone who was never good at maths and more of a visual person at school, this execution dramatised the damage we are all doing to our environment really well.
Now here’s the strange bit: I went from the TV and typed in the URL. Yes, a digital guy who lives in the online world, typed in a URL from a TV spot, shock horror! I can hear the tweeting frenzy now.
TV isn’t dead as many industry folk would lead us to believe. What’s dead is wasting energy telling or selling something that doesn’t connect to people. This TV ad connected with me because it offered relevant content and compelling imagery.

So from that initial touch point I went onto their website and they continued the engagement. The site was very clean, the use of colour was well placed and the navigation was easy-to-use. One slight gripe is that social media connectors should have been included to a Facebook group or a Twitter account, but besides that it had everything else; from useful online tools, energy calculators and energy facts to what your community is doing, a checklist of facts, and energy saver incentives and discounts. The site had everything I needed to know about saving energy.

So I’ve joined ‘Save Power’ and made a pledge, read the posters and tweeted this campaign for some time – simply because it’s true integration without the fluff. And reading some of the blog posts and tweets around this campaign, a lot of energy is being used to praise the site. Thankfully, it’s not wasted.