Advertising Is Commoditized -- But You Don't Have To Be

This is the second of a two-part series outlining the solution to the advertising industry’s business model problem. Read part one here.



Advertising isn’t just industrialized. Thanks to Henry Ford’s example, it’s commoditized. Assembly line advertising, marked by mass production and automation, will soon replace marketing jobs with dashboards and out mode an entire class of craftspeople.

Current market dynamics devalue both production and media buying. Simultaneously, the demand for creativity in business is growing as decision-makers grapple with the quickening pace of disruption.


Agencies have responded to this decades-long cognitive dissonance in many ways, including blending hourly rates and consolidating under the banner of “integration.” The industry has tried nearly everything except the one thing we know we must do.

Creativity is more valuable than ever. Executing advertising is not. Perhaps it’s time the two parted ways.

Find Magic

Seth Godin said that “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

Everything in advertising used to be magic, from concept and strategy to production and implementation. It used to be difficult for clients to find a vendor who could produce and place high-quality advertising. Now, it’s never been easier, cheaper or more available.

Our magic is shrinking.

Professional services consultant Tim Williams defines creativity and execution in advertising as the “magic” and “logic” sides of the business. Agencies historically bundled their magic (concepting, strategy) and logic (production, placement) services because they were equally valued.

But in our modern economy, where advertising is industrialized and execution is commoditized, magic and logic are valued very differently. Creative strategy is still magic. The doing of advertising is not.

The path ahead is clear. If an agency wants to thrive in the industry’s future, the first thing it must do is embrace its magic.


read the entire article in FORBES