The Future of Advertising Article in Fast Company

A friend of mine sent me a link to a really good article in Fast Company today about the future of the ad biz wanting to get my take on it. You should check out the article. It's long, but it's packed with knowledge.

As a somewhat lazy blog post, here's what I wrote back to my friend:

I read this, and I think a little bit of it is overly dramatic and alarmist (any article called "The Future of Advertising" is bound to be). I also see some executives freaking out because they haven't been paying attention to/believing in what's been happening for the last 5 years. But I also think there's a lot of truth in this, a lot of really smart people trying to figure out what the hell to do. Things are not necessarily broken with the type of thinking we do, it's more in the structure of the agencies and the billings and what the relationships look like.

I think you and I both know that a good idea is a good idea. Execution, all that stuff comes into play. But a smart creative should be able to come up with ideas in whatever format. All that said, for our own careers, we need to be able to look at the agencies out there and assess which ones are figuring it out and which ones are going the way of the Triceratops.

Here are some of the themes I see for the future agency:

SMALLER. Trim the fat salaries. Trim the layers. Trim the holding companies. It's the pods theory. Small, independent teams of 4-7 smart people.

CREATE VALUE. It's not about what we're saying. What are we giving people?

NIMBLE. Adapt and respond quickly.

RESOURCEFUL. Get it done without the waste. You have a battery, a toothpick, a plastic baggie and some table salt to work with. Make a hydrogen bomb.

VERSATILE. Work in any medium, create content, buy media, be connected.

A lot of questions about the big monoliths, and a lot of visionary people who could easily coast off into the sunset are starting to grab their parachutes and jump. To me, that's the biggest signal that these changes are real.

What do you think?