If I were to point social listening tools towards the social chatter around the advertising industry over the last three years I’m pretty sure it would show a frightening increase in negative sentiment.
Keywords like "client pressure", "talent crisis" and "media disruption" would certainly give my content insights team a gloomy story to paint on the current industry situation. In fact, if advertising was a brand, we might tell our clients to pack it up and try something new.
That is, until this past Advertising Week Europe activity. For instance, I sat in an interesting panel debate hosted by the IPA around "The Agency of the Future", where Leigh Thomas (ex-chief executive of Dare and now Facebook's director for global partnerships) said she believes "Advertising is entering a new golden era" — a refreshingly optimistic statement considering how easy it is for the industry at the moment to feel deflated.
Is a wave of new hope and energy suddenly in the air? Are we going to start to shift sentiment to (at the very least) a neutral position?
I might not be able to re-use too many decks each time a client comes to me with a new problem to solve, but that’s the excitement. We can all be pioneers now.
It may be that I am just another earnest, optimistic American, but I emphatically agree with Leigh. I haven’t felt more excited about the possibilities in front of me, than I do now. But I am also a person that thrives on change and transitions — when times are uncertain, it also means more clients are open to experiment with new ways of working and new forms of creative marketing.
As a content marketer (who works in an advertising agency) my skills have never been more in demand. I approach strategy differently and I offer up creative solutions that five years ago a brand would never have dreamed of doing. Today, my creative canvas changes every day — one moment it’s a big, bold entertainment series and the next moment I want to change the world (and my client’s world) with an app or utility that can give something back to people.
The playground hasn’t only gotten bigger it’s become more accountable.
When I look back at the last "golden era" of advertising that everyone drools over I think I would have been bored out of my mind. Too many little boxes and pre-determined media spaces to fill. Sure, I might not be able to re-use too many decks each time a client comes to me with a new problem to solve, but that’s the excitement. We can all be pioneers now.
The best part of the new optimism starting to seep out, is that all of these crazy new advertising-like things we are creating are showing ROI. I have great case studies now. I have amazing new tools to see what’s working and what’s not. So the playground hasn’t only gotten bigger it’s become more accountable. What’s not to love about the situation we are in?
I think in the next year we are going to see less people complaining about the loss of control we have, and our industry will start to see this new era as a time to redefine great creative work. More of us will start to shed off our old ad skin and see that we actually have the wings to fly higher than ever before.
Christine Beardsell is the managing partner of content at Fold7