brands don't need ad agencies

So everyone and their mother in the business has forever been asking the question, “So what is the future of the ad agency?”

Clay Shirky wrote a damn good article about the future of newspapers. Substitute “Newspapers” with “Ad Agencies” and advertising grunts everywhere will have plenty food for thought…

“When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry.”

Clay makes the point that the world doesn’t need newspapers, it needs good journalism.

Similarly, you could argue that brands don’t need ad agencies per se. What they need are creative ways to make them more compelling to their target markets.

But which of the large agencies, with their hyper-entrenched business models and institutional shareholders, would ever dare mention that in a pitch?


  1. Wow! Your cartoon is incredibly offensive…to advertising folk… But truth can be painful. (Secretly, offensive cartoons make me smile.)

  2. Large agencies typically mean ever larger egos. Thankfully, there are thousands of small to mid-sized shops that are not entrenched in the way things were.

  3. I feel for the the second character as it’s response brings to mind the David Ogilvy quote

    “The Consumer is not an Idiot – She’s Your Wife”

  4. I bumped into Clay the other day while I was wandering around Brooklyn.

    I shook his hand and told him I loved his articles and videos. He was gracious. I felt a bit guilty for treating him like a celebrity.

    He looked happy, healthy, and engaged.

    What’s next for him, I wonder?