Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Is the Digital Tail Wagging the Ad Dog?

This past week, advertising giants Omnicom and Publicis said they have agreed to merge. My heavens: Will the Mad Men of yesterday soon be unable to hide behind brand positioning, the art of superior creativity or even the clubby comfort of deals made over martinis on Madison Avenue? It is not just about Unique Selling Propositions anymore. It is a whole new game and, frankly this reaction to the marketplace could be the beginning of the end for the once proud and exclusive Ad Biz. 

In a statement disclosing the deal, the Publicis CEO, Maurice Lévy, noted that "the communication and marketing landscape has undergone dramatic changes in recent years, including the exponential development of new media giants, the explosion of Big Data, blurring of the roles of all players and profound changes in consumer behavior."

The Wall Street Journal suggests that the marriage of Omnicom Group (of the U.S.) and Publicis (headquartered in France) is aimed at restoring the balance of power between advertising agencies and such Silicon Valley companies as Google and Facebook. Well maybe, just maybe, Madison Avenue is finally paying for a pattern of hoodwinking clients and snake oil salesmanship. But, maybe, just maybe, technology doesn’t make it better. Could it be that soon we’ll be turning marketing decisions over to an automated analysis as fishy as the derivatives that ultimately caused so much disruption during the financial crisis? Like that financial voo-doo we might find ourselves compelled to place our trust in software that does our thinking for us.     

According to eMarketer, the share of global ad spending in digital media is projected to grow to 27% by 2017. Clearly the business is moving to firms such as and Adobe and are moving more into areas that are new competition for ad agencies."All of these tech players didn't exist, didn't compete, even on the fringes of our business, even five years ago," says Omnicom's CEO, JohnWren. said in an interview. The merger, he said, will "create a lot of opportunities for us, some defensive and some offensive."

Stay tuned for the clash of the titans. Madison Avenue vs. Silicon Valley. Will it be the tail wagging the dog? Or will it be Dog eat Dog? We will see soon enough as this business world saga unfolds. 

1 comment:

Bill Ellis said...

Terrific insights Wes...answers to these questions which will play out in time. How interesting will it be if the 'contenders' figure out how to join forces for the good of marketing and business?