The future of advertising in India is thought-provoking and free to download

Firstpost’s Anant Rangaswami has released a free e-book: The future of advertising in India, 2016. Obviously, its great on Anant’s part to offer it as a free download. The greater good however, is the potential change its likely to bring to the ad industry as a whole. The book (I read through a few chapters as of now) touches upon a number of relevant issues for the advertising industry: talent, relationships, costs, people brands, digital agencies, network agencies & independents, the role of industry bodies like AAAI and so on.

I would say that the book is most relevant to the Account Management function in a traditional agency. Why? The role of a generalist who is a process manager is increasingly getting marginalised in today’s world of specialists. To stay relevant, the Account Management function has to hone its skills to suit the changed media environment and client expectations. Here’s a sampler on one of the elephants in the room: Digital.

Whether it’s print or radio or outdoor or TV or digital, what will attract the attention of consumers are ideas. That’s the expertise of the traditional agency (that’s you). What digital has been successfully able to do is to sell their understanding of the medium as ideas and as understanding of communication; what advertising agencies have failed, largely, to do, is to understand the medium.

So now it’s a frantic race: will the digital agencies understand how to ideate and understand brands and consumers before the advertising agencies learn to understand the digital medium, or will it be vice versa?

Right now, they’re winning. They know how websites work, they know how search works, they’re familiar will all operating systems, they’re familiar with the entire range of hand-held devices. When I say ‘they’, I mean the majority in any of these cool, idea-centric digital shops who work for your clients.

Digital is the camel. The creative agency is the Arab. The tent is the client. By now, digital has learnt to get the nose in, get the head in.

In some time, the camel will be in the tent. And you, the Arab will be freezing outside.

The book also has an interesting chapter on Anant’s take on the big network agency’s performance and future in India. Sure to be debated and gossiped about in ad agency circles.

A fantastic effort by Anant. Hats off. Go grab a copy and read it now.

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