Agencies, NBC is out to eat your lunch

20 Nov

[by Todd] Great little piece in BusinessWeek Online that ought to serve as a mile marker on the road to hell so many ad agencies are travelling.

NbcdigNBC Universal Digital Studios wants clients to let them develop and produce the media agnostic marketing for their campaigns. Want a slick commercial, no sweat. How about a clever viral video to kick it up a notch, or a related game that plays on the cell phone? Just leave your check at the door, and your agency on the curb.

The piece notes that negotiations for the first clients to sign on have been underway for about three months. At the heart of the pitch is brutal reality that companies will have to offer something of value to consumers for their time. Television networks are packed with content that typically advertisers used to be happy just to wrap their messages around. Now consumers want more.

Marketers know it. Networks understand it. Agencies are ignoring it, as Jon Fine notes with the sublety of a sonic boom.

As for the ad agencies now feeling the tectonic plates rumble and the fear rising, well, nothing is stopping you guys from making like networks and creating your own programming, as some of the smart agencies have done for some time.

Nothing but inertia.

Update: It doesn’t escape notice that top execs from NBC Universal Digital Studios have recently been tapped to head AOL and Discovery Networks. You don’t think those groups would want to bypass agencies and work directly with clients, would they?