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Nothing is dead. #AWIX Advertising Week Takeaways

Kristina Eastham | Digitaria
By Kristina Eastham , Digital Strategist | @kreastham
Oct 2, 2012

Death is hot. Whether it’s the spike in recently dead celebrity relevance on social media, or industry claims that things – TV, advertising, Facebook – are dead. Check out the SXSW panel picker section: How many panels are going to discuss “X is dead! Long live X!” It’s ridiculous.

Most of the time, these things aren’t dead. They’re just changing so fast we can’t keep up and it’s easier to proclaim them dead than try to understand the rapid change. Mobile websites and apps aren’t dead, they are just aren’t applicable to everyone and being transformed by new technologies like responsive design. The question isn’t what’s dead and what’s alive. The question is, What’s right for our brand and our needs?

Facebook’s motto is: Move fast and break things. Though everyone is questioning the real value of Facebook (as Rory Maher, SVP, senior Internet/E-Commerce Analyst at Capstone Investments discussed at Day 1 of OMMA), they certainly are changing, so fast at times that their own employees can’t keep up. On the “Best Practices for Working with Facebook,” these panelists lamented not having anyone to work with at Facebook who could even understand (let alone sell them on) the constant changes to Facebook’s own platform.

JWT kicked off Advertising Week Monday morning with a humorous take on “Advertising is Dead” by hosting a mock memorial service for Advertising. Opening and closing remarks came from Matt MacDonald and Ryan Kutscher, Co-CCOs for JWT New York, with eulogies from Gerry Graff of Barton F Graf 9000, Charlotte Beers and Cindy Gallop. Graff’s eulogy was hilarious, but Beers and Gallop provided more insight. Beers searched for a scapegoat, exploring who is actually responsible for killing advertising (clients? creatives? agency CEOs?). The event was insightful, different, and definitely highlighted by the Madison Avenue Gospel Choir singing famous brand jingles (“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” “I’m stuck on Band-Aid brand, cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me!”)

Monday, I sat through a panel on video from IAB. Takeaway: Display advertising isn’t dead, it’s just way more effective as interactive video. From fashion designers: Blogger influence isn’t dead, it’s just in need of more transparency. Fortunately, this world is filled with a lot of innovative people who are coming up with ways to “resuscitate” things long proclaimed dead by specialists.

Ultimately, agencies are navigators. It’s our job to stay on top of this ever-changing world and lead clients through it. As Ty Montague of co: Collective said: Everything is changing, except people. People still want a story and connection through storytelling. New technologies are creating new opportunities for how we tell those stories, but at the end of the day our job hasn’t changed. Execution has become commoditized and it’s still (good) big ideas that drive advertising, which is alive and well.