From the Editor


The economy was improving but still shaky. Technology was promising to make our lives easier or more difficult, depending on whom you asked. The Middle East dominated the nightly news. Pop culture was taking over every aspect of our lives. Oh, and there was a new John Travolta film coming out.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. As we look back at 1978, the year Adweek was born, what leaps out is that it bears a striking resemblance to 2003. And that goes for the ad business as well. Sure, there are different challenges. But that’s nothing new. Remember when cable TV was going to kill off the broadcast networks? When the remote control was going to be the end of advertising as we knew it?

Video didn’t kill the radio star. But we do buy the song online now. And that’s the point with advertising. As emerging technologies like commercial-zapping TiVo empower consumers with more choices, advertisers must reach them in different ways and places. But the goal remains the same: engage and persuade.

In our lead story, Noreen O’Leary reports on the current state and the future of the industry, explaining why the fundamentals haven’t changed. The desire of every client—big or small, global or local—is a big idea. A big idea that works. And it doesn’t matter where it comes from. Questions remain about the role ad agencies will play in the reshaped media world. But no matter how the relationship between medium and message may change—or, more to the point, who controls either one—the basics will always remain.

In “The Tao of Clow,” Eleftheria Parpis makes a pilgrimage to the beaches of Southern California to speak with the heart and soul of TBWA\Chiat\Day, Lee Clow. He talks about starting out with Jay, making the most famous ad of all, the sale to Omnicom, how long he’ll stay and what he wants his legacy to be.

In “We Haven’t Come a Long Way, Baby,” Barbara Lippert argues that despite the new bells and whistles, we are no more or less creative than we’ve ever been. As always, there are a few bright spots in a sea of mediocrity. Creatives may be nostalgic for the dot-com daze, but many of those campaigns were as suspect as the companies’ business plans. In any case, the pendulum has swung back. Results matter again. And that’s not bad for business, either.

For a client’s perspective, we went to the top: Jim Stengel. In a Q&A, he talks about challenging his agencies to deliver the kind of work no one has seen from Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser.

In our roundtable, Andy Berlin, Shelly Lazarus, David Droga, Jack Klues and Donny Deutsch have at it—and sometimes each other—in a freewheeling and far-ranging debate about technology, media-only versus creative shops, compensation, measurement, the agency model of the future and more.

Mark Dolliver looks at the consumer, digging into the data and explaining how life has and hasn’t changed in 25 years—at home and at work.

Finally, we rummaged through the files and dug up the old memos, photos, TV spots and tales you’ll find in Shoptalk and the End Page.

So, then, a look back. And then on to the next 25 years. —Alison Fahey