Summary of The Future of Advertising

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Once considered a glamorous, creative and positive influence on American popular culture, the advertising business has changed so dramatically it is almost unrecognizable today. Veteran journalist Joe Cappo uses a personal approach and an historical perspective to explain the problems advertising is facing. Two decades ago, some 20 major agencies, all independent and competing against each other, developed innovative, memorable campaigns for a variety of consumer products. But those days are over. Today, four global marketing communications holding companies control 55% of marketing expenditures. This consolidation curtailed creativity, which has resulted in agencies that produce very few memorable ads or integrated marketing efforts despite unprecedented resources. Refreshingly, Cappo does not temper his industry critique in this slightly disjointed, but well-written explanation, which is buttressed by short articles from other industry experts. Cappo sounds a wake-up call for agencies to reform themselves or lose out to more effective marketing approaches from upstart independent agencies or product manufacturers. Anyone responsible for advertising budgets or for developing marketing campaigns will benefit from Cappo’s view of the past – and possible future – of advertising.

About the Author

Joe Cappo is senior vice president for Crain Communications, Inc., and the former publisher of Advertising Age magazine. He also served as the world president of the International Advertising Association.



Advertising’s Global TransformationToday, advertising is dominated by four global holding companies that account for about 55% of worldwide advertising and marketing expenditures. This global transformation occurred as the holding companies acquired the world’s largest ad agencies, which were often publicly traded. The holding companies forced out the creative entrepreneurs who founded and ran these agencies, while transferring daily leadership responsibilities to corporate managers. Twenty years ago, 20 ad agencies dominated the field. Of those, 17 are now part of the four major holding companies — Publicis Group, WPP Group, Omnicom Group and the Interpublic Group of Companies — which are conglomerates that provide advertising, public relations, media research, specialized communications and branding services.Swept up in this transformation, advertising agencies’ revenue sources have also changed. Media purchases accounted for the bulk of agency revenues two decades ago. Today, media purchases are routinely outsourced to specialized, often independent, media buying agencies. Sales promotion, direct marketing and trade promotions are also a large part of current revenues. Despite...

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