In the space of seven days, we officially launched Partners Andrews Aldridge New York with celebrations in both London and the Big Apple (British beer for New York, American beer for the London office – I think we got the better deal there) and were then immediately thrown into Advertising Week New York to take one of the keynotes at the festival’s first-ever Data Congress.
It’s hugely significant that Advertising Week has added a data element because the US industry is beginning to wake up to the need for more creativity in this area. Data is no longer just a technology or media play.
As automated tech platforms mature, agencies that can bring out the data in creative ways are the ones that are going to thrive. All companies have enough data. They all have enough creative. But what they don’t know is how to tie it together.
In New York, lots of agencies have matured through the data line and are now trying to boost their creative output. Or they’ve come from a traditional creative background and are desperate to bulk up their data offering.
What we’ve found speaking to people as we enter the market is an opportunity for agencies such as ours to succeed because they sit perfectly at that intersection of creativity and data. There’s no bias between one or the other. UK agencies, in particular, have the experience, products and services that clients are calling for. And the fact that Advertising Week is willing to give one of its keynotes to an international agency coming into the market shows how strong some of the thinking in the UK is.
What’s more, the current landscape – certainly in New York – is one focused on achieving "one more sell". Agencies start from a place where they have a predisposed position of wanting to sell more data or more creative work. But really they should be working with the client on how they use all the assets they already have in more engaging and effective ways. Let’s start by helping clients improve what they are doing. Isn’t that the basic promise of stronger engagement?
And that’s what excites me most about the challenge ahead. Data has changed from country-specific to individual communications. We are no longer just working at the segment level. What is needed now are agencies that are able to understand how that data and messaging can work better together for a specific customer. Judging by the audience reaction at Advertising Week, that’s an issue now recognised on both sides of the pond.
George Pace is the chief executive of Partners Andrews Aldridge New York