Speaking during a panel of events produced in association with Ad Age, Rishad Tobaccowala painted a scene in which Apple, Facebook and Google are among the new distributors of content -- prompting more consumer use of music and video but giving advertisers less control over how their content is passed from one potential customer to another.
That means advertisers must drop the conventions they've held to in the past -- for instance, the idea that they can authoritatively distribute promotional messages to TV, radio and the like. Instead they have to get their heads around the notion that they must create content that can go where audiences migrate.
As an example, Mr. Tobaccowala used a site his Publicis Groupe consultancy developed for Nestle's Purina. The site, which finds and displays user-generated video and images of pets, required partnerships among many different companies to get the project completed.
Marketers will have to consider more such projects, Mr. Tobaccowala said, because they can reach broader global audiences, be interactive and cost less in some cases than traditional advertising.
He also said digital technology has begun to change what consumers like and how they act. The web has made them much more voyeuristic and interested in doing things others can see and comment on. Marketers will have to devise efforts that facilitate consumer experiences and show the results to others.
"The reality of it is that the future does not fit into the containers of the past," Mr. Tobaccowala said.