While a few steps shy of fully capitalizing on social media, it does represent what will become a reoccurring theme in how companies view digital media and advertising. The product placement deal with with VideoEgg, which will syndicate "The Burg" through its network of social networking sites, was brokered by Motorola and DraftFCB.
If successful, this could represent another boon for DraftFCB, proving that there is life after Wal-Mart. The product placement deal comes on the heels of winning Kmart's $200 million account. It also suggests that DraftFCB is taking integrated social media seriously whereas some think other large agencies might not be.
Matt Heinz, senior director of marketing for HouseValues, Inc., recently began his article "Why Agencies Should Be Terrified" for iMediaConnection by speculating: “Ad agencies are in big trouble and may very well become just a memory five to 10 years from now. That's a bold prediction, for sure, but the marketing world is offering far more support for that suggestion than proof against it."
"The best, most brilliant, most effective marketing ideas of the past of couple years have not come from big ad agencies. They've come from small shops, and more often from individual consumers," he wrote. "Part of the problem lies in what big ad agencies have traditionally done well, vs. what works in marketing today. Even 10 years ago, traditional media was king. Great creative, placed correctly in the right media channels, could build mindshare and drive consumers to action."
There is almost an irony in that one of the most peer criticized ad agencies seems to be testing the waters for what might be next. No matter what you have to say about Howard Draft and DraftFCB, you have to respect them if the guess it is true. There is little doubt that more agencies and companies need to expand their horizons. If you listen closely enough, the argument isn't just being made by small shops like mine, it's starting to be made by companies like NBC Universal, Viacom (through Joost), and MTV.
The bottom line is that as distribution platforms change so will the face of advertising. Sure, we don't really know if these changes will take place in the form of VideoEgg's idea to show a small ad window on the bottom of the video player that viewers can click on to find product information ... or something more robust like we (Copywrite, Ink.) have in mind. But either way, there is no doubt that times are changing.
"There's a trend to media consumption in social networks," Troy Young, VideoEgg's chief marketing officer, told ADWEEK. "They haven't had as much success building destinations, so they're looking at hitting users wherever they're spending their time."
Hmmm... no wonder Harris Interactive's research into mobile advertising seems appealing. While not perfect (what is, really?), it certainly provides a well thought out glimpse into the future.