Monday, May 25, 2009

Maurice Levy on the future of print

Ad Age recently reported that Publicis Groupe’s CEO Maruice Levy encouraged a group of magazine publishers to innovate or die. “This is a profound structural revolution,” he said. “Don’t be like the auto industry that waited too long.”

Magazines are losing money that advertisers are diverting to digital media. And according to Mr. Levy, “Advertisers are not expected to go back to print after discarding the media…We live in a world where two words on a search engine’s results pages are considered more effective that a TV spot.”

At the same conference, Unilever’s Simon Clift said, “I spend ten or twenty times more time thinking about digital as about magazines.” He added, “We are coming close to a point where we can’t make ads any longer that consumers won’t actively engage with.”

I’m sure some members of the FIPP World Magazine Congress walked away from this session very bummed. (Although making magazines relevant is not an impossible task. Wired did a fantastic job with their recent J.J. Abrams issue with puzzles and a DaVinci Code-type mystery that simply wouldn’t have worked online.)

But Levy’s warning isn’t just to magazines. It’s to every agency that has a reputation as a print agency (look through a Communication Arts from the late 1990s, and you’ll find an entire roster of them).

I think there are currently two kinds of digital agencies: those that are pure digital shops (e.g., R/GA or The Bavarian Group) and shops that had enough broadcast and print clout to will themselves into the digital area (e.g., Cripsin, Porter + Bogusky and Goodby Silverstein & Partners).

If you’re an upstart agency with just a few years or less under your belt, my guess is you need to be purely digital, or do everything you can to bring digital into every project you tackle. Because simply doing a series of print ads and TV spots won’t be sustainable.

No comments:

Post a Comment