Advertisers panick as viewers opt out of ads

Despite the state-of-the-art offices and all the smart creative brains in advertising, the basic approach to advertising hasn't changed for 50 - yes 50 - years. It hasn't changed because it has continued to be a successful industry that is paid high fees to drive big brands onwards and upwards. And if it ain't broke... But change is most definitely coming and the agencies that don't change are going to be left out in the cold.

Despite the state-of-the-art offices and all the smart creative brains in advertising, the basic approach to advertising hasn't changed for 50 - yes 50 - years. It hasn't changed because it has continued to be a successful industry that is paid high fees to drive big brands onwards and upwards. And if it ain't broke... But change is most definitely coming and the agencies that don't change are going to be left out in the cold.

Technology is driving consumers to new platforms and new media channels, and the competition for eyeballs is going to get so intense that new ways of applying brand-building ideas will be essential. Agencies have been aware of the need for change for some time, but aside from gearing up to deal with their client's e-commerce needs, agencies still operate along old lines with all the big guns in the agency applying themselves to developing conventional interruptive advertising. It's still a world where the 30-second commercial and the double-page spread are kings.

What's really got them talking in The Ivy is the development of set-top boxes by TiVo and Replay, which not only allow viewers to compile their own special-interest programming but also to edit out the advertising. That means the audiences will be much smaller per programme, making a nonsense of hugely expensive production. What's the point of spending £1.5m on a British Airways ad that only a few thousand will watch? Oh, and if you give consumers the choice then they will choose not to watch the ads; in home trials, 88 per cent zapped the commercials.

If the ad breaks can be edited out of the programmes, then the programmes themselves will need to contain the ads or, more likely, the brands, so that they cannot be ignored.

The way forward is for agencies to apply their creativity to develop ideas that do not depend upon piggy backing other forms of entertainment. In short, the ideas will need to be entertaining in their own right. It will almost certainly lead to a return to the advertisers becoming programme-makers and a new generation of soap operas.

TBWA has already responded to this challenge by pioneering viral marketing on the internet for Sony PlayStation. We have also helped to launch a new Nissan sedan in the United States by sending 12 students on a coast-to-coast drive with digital camcorders linked to the web. In June, we helped Nike hijack every country's TV coverage of Euro 2000 by painting an image of Edgar Davids on the side of the tallest building in Amsterdam.

These are examples of the new kind of ideas clients will be demanding of their agencies. The agencies that can adapt to this changing world will continue to call the shots in the creative marketplace.

 

Paul Bainsfair is chief executive of the advertising agency TBWA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: PR Account Manager / AM

£20-30K(DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a PR Account M...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Account Executive

Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: One of the UK’s largest and most s...

Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

£Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

Guru Careers: Digital Designer / Interactive Designer

£ Highly Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Digital Designer / Interactive Des...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence