Dot-com prediction coming true

If you're a regular reader of this space, you may recall that in the first issue of the New Year, I proffered a list of predictions for the ensuing 12 months. Prediction number four boldly stated that "the bottom will fall...

If you’re a regular reader of this space, you may recall that in the first issue of the New Year, I proffered a list of predictions for the ensuing 12 months. Prediction number four boldly stated that "the bottom will fall out of over-heated technology stocks in the U.S., leaving only those companies that really do have viable products and services to survive." Barely into the second quarter, the first half of that prediction became very, very real with tech stocks on virtually every exchange around the world plummeting in value from their previously stratospheric highs.

What remains to be seen, though, is whether the companies that have been most affected by the downturn in the markets will be driven out of business as a result. Some will. It’s really a question of when.

No question, the pressure is now on to start producing bottom-line results. As our page one story in this issue attests, the financial travails of dot-com retailers in the U.S. has had a major impact on a lot of agencies that had blithely sidled up to the cyber-trough and agreed to produce massive ad campaigns for clients with little or no brand equity. The commitment of resources needed to produce these campaigns was typically great – not a problem if the client has cash flow and pays their bills on time. Unfortunately for a lot of agencies, however, the vast majority of dot-com firms still have minimal revenue streams, with their operating capital being provided almost exclusively by investors. With that support being quickly withdrawn, however, a lot of supplier invoices are suddenly hitting 60- and 90-day status. Are agencies worried? Oh yeah.

But what about here in Canada, where dot-com fever has been decidedly more tepid than in the States? Clearly, the situation isn’t as dire, but the stakes have been raised. If it wasn’t the case before, you know that any dot-com client looking to hire an agency is now going to have to spend as much time pitching themselves as will the agencies being considered for the assignment.

One would think that there will also be less inclination on the part of both client and agency to accept the wisdom that all that’s required to turn an interesting dot-com idea into a viable business is a big, splashy ad campaign. The thinking for a lot of dot-com people has tended to be along the lines of, ‘Advertise it, and they will come.’

As we now know, that simply won’t do. A little more commitment to solid business planning and delivering on promises is what’s needed. If clients and agencies can work together toward that goal, things could work out very profitably for everyone.

David Bosworth

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.