It seems like every few weeks I see a new article proclaiming the death of advertising.  With all due respect, give me a break.  For better or worse, society is becoming even more consumerist, not less.  The fundamental need of companies to share information about their products, brands, and services is getting even more important.  The desire to build profitable brands and influence consumers to like and buy things is as fundamental a part of business now as ever.  Ergo - the need for skilled professionals to produce strategic and creative consumer communications for companies all around the world - I would say - is rather safe!

But . . . the world is always changing.  

Is it really a surprise that those changes also manifest themselves in the world of advertsing?  This doesn't mean that "advertising is dead".  It just means that the innovations, evolutions (and revolutions) that occur throughout society - at some point - also seep into the ad business.  

Perhaps what's happening now is two things:

1 - the old (or traditional) way of advertising is holding on for dear life to what it knows best - which happens to (by definition) be something of an outdated mode/model. And,

2 - we may be at a unique point in time (a singularity of sorts?) when the rate of change in society is even more profoundly exacerbating the tension between the past and the future in advertising.  Certainly the increasing role of the WWW, mobile technologies, social media, the ever increasing rate of affordable computing power, etc. may be particularly powerful agents of this change.

In any event, as someone who has worked with both traditional "Madison Avenue" agencies, as well as small or boutique creative shops - and even freelancers - it just seems like the traditional model is readying itself to molt into a new skin.  And while that may be stressful for many whose livelihoods are invested into the older model, it doesn't necessarily have to be.  I don't think there will be any Encyclopedia Britannicas in advertising.  Creative people seem to be uniquely equipped to deal with change.  At the end of the day - most will be fine; perhaps even better.

And who knows, on the other side of the coin, the Internet has been a democratizing factor in many industries.  Maybe 'Advertising 2.0' will usher in an era that is actually even a bit more client focused and friendly.  Either way, I'm excited about being in and about the (r)evolution, and look forward to the opportunities and perhaps even the resurrection it brings.

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Tags: advertising, agencies, branding, businessmodels, innovation, marketing

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