Exploding advertising

The rest of media is exploding. I’ve been arguing that the advertising business is next. And, in fact, the lack of courageous innovation in advertising is holding back development in the rest of media. For example, advertisers still feel safer buying print even though all the audience growth is online, which means they’re still paying too much for too little. It’s a painful syncopation.

But some in the ad biz get it and one who does is Rishad Tobaccowala of Publicis, who was the company’s chief innovation officer and today announced he’s starting a new company inside the ad giant to seek out and jumpstart innovation, to consult to advertisers and media companies, and even to invest — with advice capital — in startups like Brightcove. Here’s a Journal story about the company, called Denuo, and here’s a Rishad interview. (Full disclosures: I’ve become personal friends with one of the media thinkers in Rishad’s tank, Tom Tercek, and I’ve made blogboy spiels and business introductions for them — without financial gain, silly me.)

Here’s what I think this means from the outside: Rishad has always been a great thinker and a great talker but it’s not easy making change happen just by cajoling within an organization. You have to do it. I hope they manage to make change. We need it.

  • Leo B

    I’ll believe that Leo Burontosaurus– oh, sorry, Publicis– has really moved Rishad’s way when they finally retire all those old 30-second spot queens that still clutter up the top of the org chart. Does no one remember the destruction of Chemistri or other similar fiascos any time any new medium seemed to threaten the precious 30 second spot there or the bigshots who made their names on it?

  • Advertising has already exploded, it’s just that most major ad agencies are still in denial more than a decade after the Internet bomb was dropped. But who can blame them for wanting to go back to the good old days when life was simple, when conusmers watched TV, listened to the radio, read the newspaper, or flipped through a magazine, and that was the whole media/attention game. Back then, it was possible to make serious money on little more than a promise and a handshake. But those days are over. Accountability reigns. As an ad executive who saw the Internet in 1994 and immediately jumped the soon-to-be-sinking ship, it’s amazing to watch a media industry that claims to be all about new ideas, resist the biggest new media idea to come down the pike in sixty years. In their unwillingness to change, the big ad agencies have revealed they are little more than sales reps for the broadcasting and publishing industries. Still, new ideas are out there. Watch for innovation in advertising in the same place you always find innovation: out on the edge. Don’t look for it in the center of the industry, in big agencies with public ownership and lots to protect; look for it in little agencies hungry for opportunity, agencies who are intent on creating little ideas that can become huge, thanks to the dynamics of the new network: the Internet.

  • Jorge

    Mores of yester harrows
    Banging credence meritiously

    O ye of little faith
    Dream a little dream

    A new lie is as good
    As an old one

  • The audience is shifting. Do you know an 18-25 year old male that watches more TV than he uses his XBox, IM or MySpace? I don’t. Don’t most of your friends have a TIVO like system? Mine do. Did your new car come with satellite radio? Mine did.

    The dollars will follow. But note, most of the guys with the purse strings (and jobs at dinosaur agencies) are scared and scared people don’t act fast enough. They are the deer in the headlights right now.

    But, the good news is that Denuo (now, how do you pronounce that?) will find takers. Some, but not all.

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