Update: Agencies not totally hosed after all!


When we last left you, Fast Company was preparing funeral rites for the traditional advertising agency, upon which "death warmed over." Now comes the counterpoint from a buttoned-up rival, Bloomberg's BusinessWeek. It presents a 3,300-word defense of the old guard. Unsurprisingly, the defense is built around Mad Men. Here's the long and the short of it:
  • Big agencies are getting better at digital. Evidence: BBDO was agency of the year at the Webbys.
  • Big holding companies are thriving. Evidence: The Big Four had $16.8 billion in revenue in 2009, double what was spent on banner ads.
  • Digital talent is moving to traditional shops. Evidence: David Lubars hired Mathias Appelblad, former interactive creative director at Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors, as BBDO's director of innovation.
  • Tech chops are easier to acquire than brand stewardship. Evidence: Agencies like McCann Erickson are hiring creative technologists and integrating digital rather than keeping it off to the side.
  Which take on the future of agencies strikes you as more plausible?