Do ad agencies practice what they preach?

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There was a great article on AdAge yesterday – Learning Twitter? Don’t Take Your Cues From These Agencies. The crux of the article was about how ad agencies are still testing the waters or plain clueless about using Twitter. As Rupal Parekh, the author says:

The irony is that the same people clients hire to erect communications and social-media strategies often appear uncomfortable using Twitter themselves.

There are some stunning examples out there:

Computer maker Dell’s strides in integrating social media into the company’s marketing communications have been well-documented. But its lead marketing agency, Enfatico, doesn’t own the handle @enfatico, and roster shop Mother, New York, has an account (@motherny) with a single update from May.

Grey has set up a Twitter account just for its interns, but it might want to keep a better eye on its content. @GreyNYInterns has informed the world it is “thinking about tequila” (at 9:30 a.m.; let’s hope they’re working on a liquor brand) and talked about seemingly proprietary information: “E*Trade brainstorm session. Do we use the baby or not?”

It’s even worse at the holding-company level. The handle @Havas is following zero people, has zero followers and has one update: “on vacation.”

Some of the comments from the smarting agencies are on the lines of ‘hey, we don’t know about others, but we are actually quite good’. Read the article for more.


Cartoon courtesy: Political Cartoons

Talking of Twitter and agencies in India, will the situation be any different? The mass media including the news channels have written about the Twitter phenomenon, celebrity tweets and so on. The trade magazines & online media too have covered it. Are any of the Indian agencies active on Twitter? Not that I am aware of. I am sure client conversations include the rising influence of Twitter and how brands can benefit. Is this scenario restricted to Twitter alone? Even when it comes to ad blogs, the Indian scenario is not very vibrant. Very few Indian agencies sell themselves well using new media. As one of the comments in the AdAge article pointed out, when it comes to client projects, the best minds in the agencies are involved. When it comes to setting up a blog or Twitter feed the emphasis is on finding ‘whoever is free’. The predicament is understandable but isn’t it better to practice what is preached?

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  1. Great post!
    I think an agency that’s really got it right on twitter is @razorfish.
    great balance of covnersation, information & self-sell!

  2. Twatter has the value of my bowel movement. It’ll be a has been in less than five years.

  3. Vedant, Harprabhjot – thanks for the comments. @truth – I agree that many see Twitter as a mindless infatuation and a fad. There is also debate about how it will be a viable business proposition. But the the post was not about Twitter- it was about experiencing a new media phenomena specially by companies who devise strategies on using these new media for their clients. The 2 links provided in the last para dwell on the issue more.

  4. Very true and I agree that tradtional agencies have as organisations failed to adapt to new media! However, ad agency people seem to be quite active and interesting on Twitter, as you are probably know! Hence as creative,strategy and client heads they are fully coversant and aware of the potential to advise and create! Agree?

    • Thanks for the comment on this old post:) Yes I agree overall. I would qualify by saying ‘some’ ad agency folk have become adept at using new media like Twitter. But many (including seniors) are still away from such for various reasons.

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