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By Joshua Belhumeur

Death is inevitable.

FOR ADVERTISING AGENCIES, COVID IS NOT JUST A SPEED BUMP. IT’S AN ACCELERANT FOR THE INEVITABLE DEATH OF THEIR MODEL.

Advertising spending in the United States is expected to decline by 25% this year. The big, bloated agencies are now having to layoff staff and close office space while the clients are asking questions like: can we accomplish more with less?

It became clear to me the traditional agency model was flawed as soon as I saw teenagers with $500 media rigs reaching bigger audiences on Twitch than ad agencies spending half a million dollars on commercial spots.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the value of strong creative in telling a brand story. But creativity is about building value through problem solving and advertising is just a tactic, not a strategy. It doesn’t solve problems, it simply amplifies a message and frankly is quite inefficient at it considering how expensive media is and how many people just tune it out.

I often repeat the phrase “design is killing marketing.” Perhaps an oversimplification to be provocative, but I stand by the sentiment of it.

The agency of the future focuses on defining and illuminating challenges to help clients get unstuck, no matter what that problem might be. Then we design elegant, creative, and unique solutions to overcome those problems and elevate the brand experience. Are we still making ad buys? Yes, but that’s not our business model. It’s a tool in our toolkit and one we only use if the strategy leads us there.

So when I read about all this turmoil in the advertising industry, as bad as I feel for those that are losing jobs, I’m personally quite optimistic. Why? Because when clients are asking can we accomplish more with less I answer yes, by making sure you’re actually investing in defining and solving the right problems…and we can help.

By Joshua Belhumeur