The biggest change we have all had to make—clients and agencies alike—is the move from strictly traditional forms of advertising (TV, radio, billboards, magazines) to incorporating nontraditional forms (online, search, social, and other tech-based media). As you can imagine, the move to digital caused full-scale panic in the early years, and people ran around telling each other that TV was dead and other such nonsense. Of course, that didn’t really turn out to be true: Canadians actually watch more TV than they did a few years ago, but they may be doing it with a computer on their lap and a cell phone at their ear. As a result, most Canadian agencies have developed a digital capability and/or partner with a digital firm to provide their clients with a completely integrated communications plan.
We have an expression in this business: “clients get the advertising they deserve.” When you see an ad where a woman gets really excited about spooning yogurt into her mouth, or starts singing to the laundry, chances are it was heavily client directed and most likely driven by a long trail of research that someone believes is the holy grail. Alternatively, when you see something that truly stands out and engages you, it’s because a client gave their agency license to create a campaign that entertains you while it engages you with the brand. What makes a standout advertiser is often a standout client. Standout clients are brave and strategic in equal measure.