When faced with this question, we pondered whether the trouble was with the word “advertising", or with “agency”.
Yes, there’s no arguing that “advertising” is, to some, akin to a dirty word. And telling people that you work in advertising only makes you look good if you’re in a room full of lawyers.
It’s more than just that though.
Companies in the “Ad Business” Are Doing More Than Just Advertising
To stay relevant, agencies have to be able to wear many hats. So along with the dazzling whiz-poppery creative work, they’re doing other things like branding, web design, media buying/trading, marketing, social media management and taco eatery pop-ups. Okay, maybe not the last thing. But then again, maybe.
At any rate, there isn’t a word that covers all of the above. Some businesses are branding themselves “experience” agencies - attempting to unite brands with their target audiences through live experiences, digital engagement and traditional marketing. And it’s working. Sorta.
Still, the problem isn’t just with the word “advertising.”
The Term “Agency” Causes Some Confusion Too
Consultancies have been in competition with traditional agencies for quite some time. And because they’re able to crank out anything at a massive global scale, they’re giving agencies a run for their money.
As such, some companies are trading out agency for consultancy. But there’s something dull and factual about the term which seems to imply that it’s the place where creativity goes to shrivel up and die.
So where does this leave us?
Collectively, the Words “Advertising Agency” Don’t Really Cover It
And companies that have comfortably slapped this monikeron their business cards and stationary for decades are wondering whether potential clients are even looking for an ad agency any longer.
It smacks of 1960s (glorified sexist) Mad Men.
Still, there doesn’t seem to be an alternative term that’s killing it at this point.
So for the time being, when it’s a keen marketing strategy that includes a snappy headline, stellar design, a strong media buy and effective social media management, the advertising agency continues to be your go-to.
You just might be able to get a taco too.