zondag, april 01, 2007

Digital Wake-Up Call On Madison Avenue

Suzanna Vranica wrote a great article for the Wall Street Journal last March.

It was about the succesful (independent) Wieden + Kennedy with its creative smarts and agility helping it capture clients as powerful as Procter & Gamble and Coke. So the decision by Nike, Wieden's longtime star client, to look for a new agency to handle part of its business sent ripples across the industry.

The reaction wasn't so much because Wieden has been Nike's lead agency since 1982, a connection cemented by a close relationship between Nike Chairman Philip H. Knight and Wieden principal Dan Wieden. What really unnerved Madison Avenue was that one of the main reasons for Nike's move was dissatisfaction with the agency's digital expertise, according to people close to the account. Despite its top-notch ability in every other department, Wieden has been slow to adapt to the Internet -- an important arena for a marketer as focused on the youth audience as Nike.

Up for review is Nike's running-shoe account, say people familiar with the situation. "We are looking for expertise in different mediums, different creative directions for various areas of U.S. business," a Nike spokesman said when the review was disclosed earlier this month. Wieden will continue to handle the bulk of Nike's ad account, including its basketball, men's training and women's fitness businesses.

Industry executives say the move was a wake-up call to Madison Avenue. The message is clear: No matter how talented an agency's creative team or how well the client's management likes the http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.giffirm's executives, the agency is of limited value unless it embraces digital media.

"We have to be thinking about ideas in all the channels and not just the [traditional] advertising channels," says David Murphy, former president of the Los Angeles office of Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi who recently left to open his own shop.

Many traditional ad agencies, with roots in television and print, have been slow to grasp the impact of the Internet. In the past couple of years, as consumers and advertisers have begun shifting to the Internet, some agencies have responded by beefing up digital talent through both hiring and acquisition. But many firms don't have enough digital talent to meet client demand, and those that do often have kept the digital department separate from the rest of the firm.

Read the full article here.