Jul 23, 2007

Toad Predicts

Sometime in the next year, one of the interweb-only agencies like Razorfish or RGA is going to do a fairly clever online campaign for one of their (packaged goods) clients that the client absolutely loves. Later that week, the same client will see yet another mediocre TV-centric campaign from their offline agency that's bombed in whatever sort of snake oil testing program they put it through.

Frustrated, the client will give the interweb shop the chance to do the offline work as well, telling them to see it as an extension of the much-loved (and much clicked-through) online campaign.

The interweb shop will do a decent job on the offline work, certainly no worse than what the traditional agency has presented. The client will buy it, and, when they see the cost savings, will pull the account and give the whole kit and caboodle to the interweb shop.

Much will be made of this in the ad trades and the mainstream business press. Everyone will point out that this is the first time an interweb shop is doing print and TV (probably false, but it makes for better copy) and that this is first mainstream ad campaign that’s designed around an online concept, with TV playing a supporting rather than leading role. (Ditto.)

Traditional agency creatives will rail against the campaign, correctly pointing out that it’s a rip-off of something done in Belgium for a similar client back in the mid-90s that got into CA, and regardless, it’s just not very good. While they’re busy bitching and moaning however, their bosses will be commanding them to work with their (allegedly integrated) online brethren to come up with a similar campaign that’s all about the online component.

Most of the traditional agencies—and their clients-- won’t really get it, so we’ll see a spate of campaigns featuring 30 second TV commercials with longer, YouTube “viral” versions (all shot by Pytka) that drive to a pointless website where you can read all the copy the agency convinced the client didn’t need to be in the TV commercial or viral video.

Meanwhile, other clients, unhappy with their agencies, will begin shifting accounts to the interweb shops. The marketing teams that do this will be rewarded for (a) saving so much money and (b) being so forward thinking. The work that comes out of the interweb shops won’t win any awards but won’t be noticeably worse than 90% of what comes out of traditional agencies. The only noticeable difference will be that some of the TV work will be informed by a more flash and video game derived visual sensibility and will look much better on an an iPhone screen than a 50 inch HDTV one.

Traditional agencies will bitch and moan about how bad the creative from the interweb shops is, but slowly, more and more clients will shift their accounts, probably even one or two really big ones.

After a year or two of this, some interweb agency is going to stumble upon the sort of “big idea” that pleases award show judges and Miami Portfolio Circus Center students. The campaign will clean up at The One Show and Cannes (but not D&AD, where it will be shut out) and everyone will be clamoring to have their agency/creative department come up with something just like it.

You read it here first.

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