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Monday, August 13, 2007

Off-shored digital media

Not a posting that is specific to the 50-plus. If this vision of the future is correct then it will certainly be relevant to the older age group.

The article in the New York Times starts with the non-contentious statement: “It is only a matter of time until nearly all advertisements around the world are digital”. Well that is what the chairman and chief executive of Digitas thinks. This is the advertising agency that was recently acquired by the Publicis Groupe.

The article claims that Digitas is responsible for the digital advertising strategy for the entire Publicis worldwide conglomerate, which includes agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and the Starcom MediaVest Group.

The plan is to build a global digital ad network that uses offshore labour to create thousands of versions of ads. Then, using data about consumers the network will decide which advertising message to show at which moment to every person who turns on a computer, cellphone or — eventually — a television. Gulp. Can they really do that?

Interestingly, at least for me since I hope to be there in a few weeks time, Publicis recently announced the acquisition of the Communication Central Group, a digital agency in China. This makes sense since the company thinks that the Chinese advertising market is growing at about 20% a year.

It looks as if Publicis also sees countries like China as important sources of low-cost labour. A Digitas subsidiary Prodigious (digital production) already uses workers in Costa Rica and Ukraine. I guess this is the advertising equivalent to sweat shop factory?

This article paints an extreme view of how the advertising industry might develop. Just think that not only will your TV be made in China but also the ads you watch on it. Dick Stroud

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