I decided to research the Ad Industry in the U.S. as I wanted to further understand how new media is disrupting the agency model as we know it, and gain further insight about the consequences that this event will have in the industry so that I have a better understanding of how I could act as an agent of change within it.

I’ve worked as a Strategic Planner for several years in N.Y. and I have lived first hand the difficulties that agencies go through nowadays to keep up with a rapidly changing world. Established and well known global agencies still prioritize short-term profits over long-term survival, and have consciously contributed to the present dilema. Digital is still treated as a siloed discipline/department in many large agencies and for large, multinational names it’s something they are struggling to change.

Large ad agencies have achieved a degree of such complexity that it’s simply too confusing to navigate. As a trained traditional planner, I personally struggled working in large, traditional agencies because I felt forced to develop a set of skills that I knew would be worthless in years to come. That is the reason why I joined Hyper Island and why I would like to further explore during this research.

I have read numerous advertising books during the past 10+ years and have gained a very personal perspective of what the future may look like. For this research, I decided to revisit those as well as read relevant literature, press articles, watched TED conferences, and analysed industry reports, to get a better sense of the game changers and how they will specifically change the industry.

The article that sparked my thinking for this project was Fast Company’s “Future Of Advertising”, by Danielle Sacks. Back in 2010, she wrote a fantastically thorough article where she explores and critically analyses the advertising industry and discusses emerging new agencies formed by talent leaving the old-fashioned agencies, too large, too complex to adapt to a new world that requires agencies that, at the core, are nimble, innovative, cross-disciplined, co-working oriented. Not to say that only smaller agencies will succeed or are needed, depending on the problem at hand, according to Danielle Sacks, the agencies of the future will need to be able to quickly form the exact right team for that precise problem solving. Sometimes accessing the large network agencies, sometimes a small, digital boutique agency, and so on.

Exploring the history of Advertising, is exploring the history of media, technology, culture, business and people all together. All these influence each other and it’s sometimes difficult to know where one ends and the next starts. And it’s this idea or fluidity and the technological revolution that we are all experiencing what is changing the way corporates function and ad agencies in return respond.

We are at the cusp of a paradigm shift and I am excited to see how an industry that has barely changed in the past 50 years will adapt. Based on Clay Shirky’s words, quoted in my “Future of Advertising” info-graphic, I envision a total collapse within the larger advertising networks, which will not be able to handle the complexities of the new media landscape as it directly affects their business model. Clients are realizing that agencies charge too much for services they could be getting for much less, thanks to crowdsourcing.

Big Data is the buzz word of the year. And of course, this also dramatically affects how the industry will function in years to come. From a communications/marketing perspective, the old model of “marketing” a message to an audience will die, giving place to the birth of a completely new way for corporations and brand to connect with people. Agencies will act as problem solvers, rather than message crafters, which requires a completely new structure and business model. Brands don’t belong to corporations anymore and this new open world will require total transparency and authenticity, and above all, for brands to provide solutions that solve human needs.

History Of Advertising

Future Of Advertising


Printed Literature

History of the mass media in the United States: an encyclopedia. Editor: Margaret A. Blanchard. Publisher: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Incorporated | ISBN: 1579580122, 9781579580124

Ogilvy on Advertising. By David Ogilvy. Publisher: Vintage, 1985 | ISBN-13: 978-0394729039

Truth, Lies and Advertising. By John Steel. Publisher: Wiley, 1998 | ISBN-10: 0471189626

Convergence Culture. By Henry Jenkins. Publisher: NYU Press, 2008 Revised edition | ASIN: B002GEKJ5E

Lean Start Up. By Eric Ries. Publisher: Crown Business, 2011 | ISBN-13: 978-0471189626


Art & Copy. By Doug Gray.  A PBS Documentary. 2009.

Online Publications – Newspaper articles, TED conference videos, etc. TED Talk about the future. Silicon Valley Culture Jeff Han, Introduction of Touchscreen at TED conferences. The birth of google.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s