The Big Fight
Yes, the traditional ad agencies are still alive and well. In many cases, they’re managing campaigns on sites like Google and Facebook and Polyvore. And even online, they play a big role with the ad “creative,” the images and copy that make up an ad. But machines are beginning to arrive here as well.
This topic was discussed during a recent panel at the University of Texas, and Bedecarre, who was on the panel, described it as a “big fight.” There is already software that lets agencies and advertisers experiment with different wording, images, and colors in online ads, and though other ad executives disagree, he’d like to see advertising agencies pay even more attention to data and less to the idea of “a lonely copywriter and art director in a dark room coming up with a big idea.”
But he also believes the Googles of the world need to play more nicely with old-school agencies. They are still the gatekeepers to many big advertisers. “The Madison Avenue side has to become more engineering and tech savvy and the big online publishers need to deal with an industry that is still pretty traditional and still likes to have those lunches to build a relationship and a trust,” he says.
Bain says he doesn’t follow Mad Men — “it would be too stereotypical if I watched” — but, yes, he means the kinds of lunches that are so colorfully portrayed in the series. He adds, however, that these lunches are no longer about how many martinis you can drink. “They’re spreadsheet lunches now,” he says.