Are Traditional Advertising Agencies Going Extinct?

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As long as there is traditional advertising in print and broadcast media, there will be agencies dedicated to creating it. However, to eschew new media is to dabble ones toes perilously deep in the tar pits.

Take Neanderthal and Stone, in business since 1965. They still club viewers with heavy TV schedules and try to light fires under readers of magazine ads and direct mail. The owner contends that there is plenty of meat to be picked from newspaper advertising and that jingles can sell anything.  But, their larger craniums allow them to engage with a brand from logo design to multimedia campaign.

Across the street is the upstart Homo Erectus Group, in business since 2009. They have discovered fire and can illuminate consumers in more targeted ways and at more opportune times. Being more social creatures, they recognize the opportunities of Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest. And they know how to turn a website from an expensive brochure into a working tool. Fascinated with how shiny their spears are, they often can’t see when the net, snare and blow to the head with a rock might be better ideas.

On the Extinct-O-Meter, Neanderthal and Stone registers as high risk due to limited tools and inability to use the wheel. They lose business because they can’t take their clients into new hunting grounds while also offering traditional fare. Homo Erectus registers Medium Risk as they can get lots and lots of project work, but many clients won’t trust them to understand the nuances of the brandscape.

One will survive and even thrive, because they occupy high ground others can’t reach. The other is already up to its occipital ridge in tar, but smart enough not to go any deeper.

But, it’s likely that the iron-working, supple-skulled executive from Homo Sapiens and Partners is going to get the biggest kills when pitch time comes around. His agency combines evolved social skills and more advanced tools with the ability to understand when and where to use them. He can hunt in all media, throw messages with the accuracy of Homo Erectus, and design them based on the ancient lore of Neanderthal and Stone.

He also smells better.

– John Graham, Copy Director @ Creative Dimensions