Scott Goodson:The death of the network, the new era of the idea

The established advertising industry, typified by huge network agencies, is in the last throes of death. We will see the Bear Stearnses of the advertising world come crumbling down in the next year or so. Why? It's not because their talent isn't great. It's because the advertising industry has changed so fundamentally that it's made them obsolete.

By Scott Goodson, CEO, New York-based agency Strawberry Frog

The established advertising industry, typified by huge network agencies, is in the last throes of death. We will see the Bear Stearnses of the advertising world come crumbling down in the next year or so. Why? It’s not because their talent isn’t great. It’s because the advertising industry has changed so fundamentally that it’s made them obsolete.

What are these changes? First and foremost, culture and technology will overshadow all else – culture meaning how we do what we do, and technology meaning the things that make life easier and better. Social networking will replace advertising, connecting people with ideas and brands and companies in new ways. A totally new form of peer-to-peer direct selling and introductions will replace the paid-for media model that has served for the past 60 years.

Digital utilities will offer entertainment as a means of deepening relationships and making people’s lives easier. This ‘service-tainment’ will replace marketing as we know it. Imagine a brand represented by a silly character who takes your order for a week’s groceries over your cellphone. Successful brands will stop producing creative ‘spam’ and act more like Google, organizing the information about a brand and its culture for consumers. Brands will be like editors and bouncers, keeping the riff-raff out along with all the irrelevant information.

The huge agency networks will evolve into airports specializing in distribution and logistics. If you absolutely, positively need to get something done, they will ensure that your bags are off-loaded and distributed to all corners of the globe. The ideas side of the business will be dominated by smaller technology and culture-oriented firms that move a lot faster – and focus primarily on innovation. We will see agencies collaborating with each other in ways that the Goodbys, Wiedens and BBHs of the world never thought possible back in the 1980s, when they were born.

Scott’s pick: the smartphone

This hand-held device will further change our lives in ways that we can now see happening in the most advanced mobile markets such as Sweden, Finland, Japan and India.

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