THE INTERACTIVE QUESTIONNAIRE/IN ASSOCIATION WITH ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH: Mairi Clark assesses the attractions of the US as a place to find quality work in the new-media sphere

First Saul Klein. Then Richard Hall - and now Russell Davies. What is the lure of US new-media agencies, and why are they taking so many of our good people?

First Saul Klein. Then Richard Hall - and now Russell Davies. What

is the lure of US new-media agencies, and why are they taking so many of

our good people?

hen new media really was ’new’, no agency worth its last speech about

integration was going to stand by and watch as another part of the brand

communications budget went to another specialist. Interactive

departments were hastily set up.

A lack of genuine senior management enthusiasm, however, forced agency

specialists to do the work without the resource that’s normally

allocated to a mature discipline. When client budgets failed to appear

at the same speed as the hype, red ink forced departments to close down

and frustrated executives.

So, while in the UK only a handful of clients and agencies are genuinely

benefiting from their activity, in the US it’s a different story. In the

digital Madison Avenue, new media is a grown-up discipline with serious

investment, serious agencies and, best of all, serious clients. So

anyone serious about new media can build a career.

Ajaz Ahmed


The key to the question is the number 20. The US has 20 times the Web

users, 20 times the sites with million-dollar building budgets, 20 times

the Web advertising revenues, 20 times the companies that take the Web

seriously and 20 times the amount of locally produced quality content.

UK interactive folk can therefore have 20 times as much fun, write their

work in 20 times fewer words and don’t cost 20 times as much as the top

US practitioners.

Rob Norman


The lure of US new-media agencies is the same as the lure in many

industries: glamour, originality and large salaries. The opportunity to

spend some time in a company that may be on the cutting edge often seems

a good alternative to another winter in the UK. The UK historically

produces incredibly creative people and then is unable to build the

businesses that inspire them to remain in this country. This affects

science and medicine, so it’s hardly surprising that it affects

new-media companies. On the other hand, there seem to be a fair few of

’their’ new-media people coming here, so maybe it’s not that bad.

Ivan Pope


Having had the opportunity to work on a Web project in the US, I’ve no

doubt that consumer acceptance and usage of new media is two years ahead

of Europe. As a consequence, clients are more prepared to invest in the

medium - with both time and money. But the market is still very immature

whatever side of the pond you’re on and, particularly on the Web, very

little outstanding creativity is being displayed.

I know I’m biased, but I think in general our advertising is superior

and I believe that the UK can and will produce better interactive work

too - the games market hopefully is a sign of both our software and

creative skills

Mark Dickinson


When people go to work in the States, they’re not really leaving -

they’re just going on an extended all-expenses paid adventure of a

lifetime. Of course, a lot stay. However, most come back all the better

for the experience but missing ’the way we do it over here’. They go to

the States because they can live in 4,000 square feet loft apartments in

TriBeCa and SoHo.

They go there because people such as Bill Gates, and Steven Spielberg

live there. They go there because everything feels bigger and more


Graham Bednash

Michaelides and Bednash