[by Todd] Hello keyboard my old friend…
I’ve spent the past several weeks talking to some great agencies around the country, all of whom are looking for a way to position themselves for the future. We talked about infrastructure, clients, billing practices. But time and again we came back the enduring value of vision.
Those conversations gained a renewed sense of urgency when I read coverage of Linda Kaplan Thayer’s message at the ANA conference in Orlando. In her apparently hard-to-read speech, she mocked the shift to consumer control, the Internet, Wal-Mart and just about all other shifts in the agency landscape.
Sadly, I think it is really a cry for help from an agency executive who is fighting any acceptance of how fundamentally the world is changing around her. This isn’t the first time she’s mocked events. I razzed her last April for comments she made at the 4As conference. Maybe she should just stop making high-profile presentations.
Even more pathetic is that she was not alone in whistling past the grave yard. As the Ad Age coverage noted, most speakers seemed more interested in laughs than inspiring deep thinking:
While much of her presentation poked fun at consumers’ insatiable
appetite for simple, diversionary content, it’s a bit ironic that she
chose to spoof the industry’s challenges rather than offer actual
solutions. The endless parade of "Make ’em laugh" presentations is one
reason why the 30-second TV spot could go the way of the hula hoop.
Any agency leader who isn’t contemplating very fundamental shifts in their structure and staffing is guilty of gross negligence. The days of touting integration are way around the bend. Preaching a media agnostic approach is certain sign you aren’t.
And joking, even half-heartedly, that consumers don’t want control is just sad. Really sad.