Advertising agencies are not what they used to be. The very first full-service ad agency was established all the way back in 1869 by 21-year-old Francis Ayer.
During that time, agencies would simply buy ad space and place ads. It wasn’t until the late 1800s when the agency structure we know now started to take shape.
According to AdAge, “J. Walter Thompson was among the first agencies to employ writers and artists to create interesting advertisements for their clients, replacing the standard ads created by in-house departments.”
It wasn’t until more than half a century later that Bill Bernbach introduced the idea of teaming up copywriters and art directors. He’s the genius behind such work as Volkswagen’s “Think Small” campaign and Avis’ “We Try Harder” campaign.
In recent years, our industry has evolved at an exponential rate. We are no longer creating just radio scripts and billboards.
Today, we get to create experiences tailored to the audience that cares most about you and your product.
There are more channels and targeting options than ever before, so if you want to talk to a Subaru-driving, Caribou Coffee-drinking, soccer mom who’s in the market for new running shoes—we can almost talk directly to her with today’s targeting capabilities.
This changing marketplace has expanded agencies as well. We still have the baseline positions — copywriter, art director, creative director, account manager, but the staff has also greatly expanded. You’ll see strategists, content marketers, web developers and analysts. Some agencies even throw out the titles and declare everyone “Creatives.”
What will the next incarnation of an ad agency look like? Is the copy & art duo headed out the door?
Some agencies think they’re still the heart of the idea, while others think it’s time to invite others to the table.
Us? We’re open to adaptation. Sometimes we brainstorm with two, sometimes we invite the whole team in.
Mind-blowing creative doesn’t spring from doing the same thing over and over. It springs from opening our eyes to inspiration from any source.
We stay nimble, always looking for PR and content opportunities — even if it’s something as crazy as spotting a missing hat in our commercial.
Know your concept and jump on ideas and moments that further it.
Now that we’ve shown you ours, we want to hear about yours.
How has your agency changed over the last few years? Or, how have you as a client adapted to how agencies (your partners) are changing? Have you found the changes helpful or a nuisance?