Thursday, May 28, 2009

BakerTweet from Poke

Poke is a London-based creative company that "focuses on inventing and making interactive things."

They're not an ad agency in the way Crispin or Wieden or Goodby are ad agencies. But they do enough interactive work that you could argue they're in the leagues of the Barbarian Group or R/GA. Still, on their FAQs, they answer the question, "Are you an online advertising agency?" like this:

In a word: "Yno."

Poke is currently getting a lot of press from their BakerTweet invention - an industrial looking box that sends Tweets announcing croissants and buns are fresh out of the oven.

So Poke is a web agency. But also a design agency. And also an agency that can't really be categorized at all.

Is this what ad agencies need to become? Or does Poke live in its world and let the Goodbys and Fallons of the world live in theirs?

In a word: Yno.

I think when an agency positions itself as an "ad agency" it becomes much more difficult to sell anything but advertising to the client. Even media-savvy clients are likely to say, "Yes, you handle our advertising, but we've got other suppliers to handle special promotions, online work and other marketing."

If you want to sell more than advertising to your clients - even ambient media installations and PR events - you've got to begin by positioning yourself as more than an ad agency. And that's got to be a top-down decision. It probably won't happen just because a writer and an art director had a pretty cool idea that went beyond the print brief.

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