Editor's Letter

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The level of irony you detect in our cover line this month will, I suppose depend on how you view the prospect of launching an agency right now. Your irony meter could also be influenced by your idea of what specific mission that new agency is meant to fulfill. After all, creating a good agency of any variety is pretty far from simple. So how simple can it be to create an agency that rights the wrongs of its forebears, that sets a new standard for creativity, that ushers in the era of true media neutrality and that corrects the compensation-and-respect downward spiral the agency world has tipped into?

That might be a teensy overstatement of the mandate of a bunch of budding agencies, but that all of these shops are starting up in an era in which marketing players are rethinking their processes, and "TV spot" has become two dirty words, does sort of make them poster children for the new order. And who are we not to jump on the bandwagon? There have always been new shops promising to shake things up, certainly. But right now, things are clearly already shaken and the particles haven't settled yet. And, as the wandering eye of advertisers seems to imply, there is room in the swirling chaos for some new players.

But success for the new guys won't mean the pendulum will get stuck on one side and smaller shops will be the default mainstream choice. Their success should only speed up the change that clearly needs to happen anyway. Ideally, it will mean that the ad agency itself gets redefined-that the choice isn't just between big and small but among a number of different kinds of companies. With the reshaping of big agencies, with the success of new ones and with the ascendance of existing companies that are redrawing the boundaries of exactly what an agency is (shops like R/GA, for example, with its big pools of creative talent, interactive expertise and production capabilities), the entire ad community gains new relevance.

It's all very simple, really.

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