Specialist Digital Agencies: divide of another kind

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The One Club called these Digital Advertising that Defined an Era. Some created their own list of ‘best digital advertising of the decade‘. Common to any list that aimed to put down the best digital work of the last decade? Work done by large, often known as ‘mainline’ agencies featured in those lists. The independent or specialist digital agencies have made a mark on their own and have demonstrated that they ‘get’ the interactive business and don’t just adapt a TV idea into interactive. No wonder they are growing from strength to strength. WPP consolidated several of their specialist interactive agencies into one unit – Possible Worldwide.

Among the big agencies, there are possibly two kinds: ones who haven’t hived off specialist digital units (yet do great work in that space) and those who’ve set up specialist units. Among the latter kind, the Slide No.123 syndrome (‘and now for our Digital & Activation ideas…quickly) is perhaps common as they still see the specialist unit as an add-on. Over time, will this divide fade away? Will the strategists & creators of work in the digital medium be one and the same as those who do the same on Television? After all within agencies you do not see segregation between a Television Copywriter and a Print Copywriter. In my view,those who already create brand campaigns for the digital medium without necessarily having to create a separate unit (names like W+K and CPB come to mind) are at an advantage. Over time maybe even the specialist units which sit separately from the ‘mainline’ agencies will break the divide. What say?

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