A week or so ago, the head of a boutique traditional agency called me in for a quick digital primer....
They were heading off to a big pitch, and needed to know their clicks from their spiders, their banners from their rich media and so on.
For the past three years or so, I have jumped on the "agencies don't get it"bandwagon. It wasn't hard to do. After all, here is a shop calling in an independent player to augment knowledge in a pinch.
I spend much of the next three days locked in a room with folks with just enough digital knowledge to make them dangerous (in a not-so-good way). This was my first hurdle. The next hurdle was disbelief in anything interactive, along the lines of "I don't believe that site gets 2 million unique visitors a month" or "I don't care what Yahoo! says, people can't be searching for that." It was like pulling teeth.
On the other hand, I also spent the next three days absorbing brilliance from the old days of advertising. The big idea was, in fact, very big. The time and thinking dedicated to audience research far outweighed anything I had seen in an interactive pitch. To top it off, we even had the classic ad man's martini lunch. Was I dreaming?
After the pitch, our heads were pretty low. Could a three-day interactive primer really pull together a very traditional shop through? For the insider, it was definitely sewn together last minute, with strings hanging everywhere. We did an immediate post-mortem, checking off all the things we should not have done, all the things we promised to never, ever do again. It was clear that building a digital competency was going to take a very long time.
I had pretty much dismissed the idea of advancing to the finals. Until we got the call. Perhaps the agencies do "get it," after all.
Take the first step (it's free).
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