Message Convergence – The First Great Advertising Challenge of the 21st Century

I was reading an article in MediaWeek today by Larry Rowan and Dave Warren of RowenWarren, a New York based creative boutique about the challenges the large traditional agencies are having in dealing with the convergence of computers and TV (See MediaWeek October 16, 2006 pg. 10). The article deals with the fact that the larger agencies have traditionally been focused on either the branding (emotional connection) side of the business or the direct response (content and call to action) side of the business. Now that the convergence of TV and the Internet affords brand marketers the opportunity to intertwine direct response mechanisms into most every television campaign, the big agencies are struggling with how to best go about this process.

With media delivery convergence now taking hold, agencies must actively begin taking hold of message convergence. At no other time in history have agencies had the opportunity to combine great branding with great direct response. This will require a different approach and successful agencies will be those who require the brand managers (account planners) to sit with the direct marketing expert in order to come up with programs and campaigns that strike an emotional connection while at the same time delivering the desired response. Appealing to both the left and right sides of the brain is the only way to be successful in this new era of marketing.

So, who is winning the race? It looks like the smaller, more nimble shops are at the forefront of this media convergence and are aggressively looking to do both branding and direct marketing in one unified effort. It is easier for smaller agencies to adapt and communicate internally. How the rest of the industry will respond is still undecided. What is for certain is that there will be some big winners and some big losers.