Wrap Up: Is the Advertising Industry Reconverging?
Hervé C. de Clerck, founder of MayDream and AdForum, put the fourth annual World Summit 2005 in historical perspective: "Four years ago, agencies were talking about integration as the wave of the future. The second year's theme was accountability. Year three was reinvention. This year, we saw signs of reconvergence or the return to full-service thinking as integration became a reality."

At the Summit's wrap up session, De Clerck invited the 22 participating consultants to share with the international press their observations of trends among the 20 global agencies they had seen in the past week. Among their more notable comments:
  • Two years ago integration was about being able to make all the pieces work together. Today it's about having all the pieces under one roof. Network agencies are becoming mini holding companies.

  • Media agencies, once the "poor relations" are becoming more impressive and influential. They understand the practical aspects of integration and are fully committed to the new world where media is just one piece of marketing communications.

  • Media and creative agencies, once divorced, are flirting again. Creative agencies want media back in house, but media agencies won't want to give up the revenue.

  • Holding company CEOs are employees of the shareholders, not owners or founders like the last generation of leaders. Agency CEOs are moving from team to team like football players.

  • With huge turnover in agency senior executives and 12-month average tenures for corporate marketing directors, how can anyone do any meaningful work?

  • The customer used to be king, now the customer is god. Marketers have to capture the consumer's attention whenever and wherever the consumer wants to give it.

  • The new agency model won't likely think in traditional distinctions. A lot of business is already moving to smaller upstart shops.

  • The demand for commercial transparency will be a challenge to agency profits.

Who's right and who's not? The best way to find out is to come back to see what they say next time.