Tuesday, February 26, 2008

March 08 - Agency Blogs

One of the great things about being a consultant, is that your opinion is your own, and you’re free to express it as and when you see fit. This is especially true when it comes to blogging.

Recently I took up an irresistible offer of to join the team at Wunderman in Melbourne. Even though the job in question was a terrific opportunity for me, I had to think long and hard about the offer before making a decision.

And what do you think it was that was holding me back?

Believe it or not it was my blog. Well actually my ability to freely express my opinion on the blog to be precise. Luckily Wunderman are keen for me to continue ranting and rambling on my own little slice of the internet.

Not only that, they were also keen for me to help them get a corporate blog off the ground. Which is what I’ve been working on for the last few days.

As part of my research for the Wunderman blog I spent time searching, reading and commenting on a variety of advertising agency blogs. As you can imagine, my learning from other agency blogs has informed our fledgling blog, which will be launching shortly.

To be honest with you, there really aren’t that many agency blogs out there in the blogosphere. And those that are often come with the caveat that the opinions expressed on the blog are the opinions of the writer or contributor, not the agency.

What a cop out! In the age of social media, agencies have to be brave enough to join the conversation, regardless of whether the talk is good, bad or indifferent. Having said that, there are some good agency blogs that are well worth adding to your RSS feed. Here are a few of my favourites:

Fruits of the imagination is the blog of Leo Burnett in Toronto. I’m recommending this blog based on reputation rather than current posts. Why? Because the driving force behind it, strategy planner Jason Oke, left the agency at the end of the year.

Postings have become less frequent since Oke’s departure, however at the start of the year they posted their mission for the blog in 2008. I’m hoping that this was written by someone with their tongue wedged firmly in their cheek.

“This is my promise to post more than it is an actual post. For 2008 it's about easing into things slowly. We will continue to monitor and contribute to some of the major industry and cultural debates including MySpace vs Facebook and bottled vs tap water.”

Love is a blog that I love from a Manchester agency called Love. In fact, you could say the Love blog is everything an agency blog should be. It’s fun, friendly, and the personality of the agency and its people comes shining through in every post.

My favourite was when they shared news of their lack of success in a pitch. Here’s what they had to say;

“Our digital geniuses put together a brilliant pitch to re-design the Crown paint website and overhaul their general digital strategy. It was one of those pitches that couldn’t have gone better on the day. It was also really enjoyable to present.

We were really proud of the work and the Crown clients seemed impressed with our understanding of their brand and the issues it faces. But sadly, after waiting nervously for a couple of weeks for the result, we found out we lost out to Code. Shame.

Well done to Code, who consolidated their relationship with Crown after doing various projects with them. We’d like to think we pushed you all the way and look forward to taking you on in a few more ‘head-to-heads’ next year.”

Strawberry Frog are one of the hottest agencies in the world at the moment. Their blog is always worth a look. They recently posted an interview with their new MD, Mike Lanzi. I think it gives a great insight into what makes them tick.

“The place is doing pretty darn well. The question is how do we take it to the next level, especially when clients are going to ask themselves more than ever whether their agency is really worth all the cost and bureaucracy.

The key is strategic and creative brilliance. We are investing in the best strategic thinkers in the business, and will build the agency by attracting the best seasoned talent in this space.”

Seasoned talent! Now that’s not a term you hear much in adland these days. How refreshing to hear it used by an up and coming agency, that’s made a name for itself by doing things differently.

And doing things differently is, I feel, what sets a good agency blog apart from your traditional toothless corporate web presence.


Fruits of the imagination


Strawberry Frog


David Koopmans said...

Hi Stan,
Could you find one decent Australian agency blog? The only one I have found so far is the Naked Agency blog if I remember right.

Stan Lee said...

Comments left on my Facebook:

"Liked the new blogosphere article, looking forward to seeing the Wunderman blog." Ed Howley

"Seasoned talent... and with that phrase everyone in adland over 26 breathes a huge sigh of relief."
Dave Scott

Gavin Heaton said...

Congrats on the new gig, Stan. Hope it works out well for you!

BTW ... bellamyhayden have a decent blog even if it does focus mostly on their own work ;)

Julian Cole said...

Hey Stan,

great article and it has given me a few more blogs to check out.


Jetpacks said...

It's interesting to note how many smaller agencies tried to start a blog and let it go stale, the dated last post indicating how long ago they gave up - and yet they still keep a link to the blog on the homepage.

I wanna live in Australia. Will write for food.