Too much has already been written about the recent Old Spice foray into social media. However, one aspect of the campaign has escaped most commentary – the firm – Wieden + Kennedy – is an ad agency. Not a PR agency, or a social media agency. An ad agency.
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal ran an interesting story on the growing interest of ad agencies in the social media space. As they put it,
“As more and more advertising dollars flow into social media, some Madison Avenue firms are seeking to grab a piece of the action.”
The story cites several examples of ad agencies who are making a move to grow this side of their business. As they do so, they are moving into direct competition with the PR firms and social media agencies who, until recently, they have partnered with on client projects.
Many public relations folks have harped on the idea that PR agencies are best placed to serve clients’ social media needs because of their focus on relationships and conversations as part of their core business. If nothing else, Isaiah Mustafah’s wonderful social media tour de force last week proved that ad agencies can get it right online, with a combination of creativity, comedy and captivating two-way interaction. Meanwhile, however, the pragmatists among us have been observing the blurring of the lines for quite some time. I’ve argued, for example, that PR agencies can learn a lot from ad agencies including:
1. How to better scale programs;
2. How to plan and execute more creatively;
3. That measurement is critical;
4. How to effectively target their key audiences;
5. How to better target messages.
Four challenges to PR firms from ad agencies
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