There is a good debate going on at Digi-Cynic about the future (or not) of pure-play digital agencies.
Jerome who authors the blog has spent quality time in Glue, BBH in London and is now a Digital Planner W+K Amsterdam so if anyone has a opinion worth engaging with on the subject then it's Jerome. Have a read.
He lists the winners of the 2009 Cannes Cyber Lions:
BBH New York
OGILVY & MATHER Düsseldorf
GOODBY SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS
CRISPIN PORTER + BOGUSKY
DRAFTFCB KOBZA Vienna
DROGA5 New York
A list without many pure-play digital agencies.
It was a similar story at the NMA Effectiveness Awards earlier this month when VCCP won the two most high profile awards, Best Use of Web and Best Use of Social Media for CompareTheMeerkat.com. Given that VCCP is not a pure-play digital agency, we were pretty proud of that. The judges commented that they were impressed with the way that a compelling narrative had been created and extended across multiple, connected digital platforms and the way that characters were developed digitally. VCCP is not a Digital agency, but it seems to "do" Digital pretty well.
The term "Digital" always seemed to be a bit odd really. If you have a Digital Planner, then surely you should have an Analogue Planner? Likewise if there are Digital Agencies than shouldn't there also be Analogue Agencies (but what kind of fool would want to work in an Analogue Agency??) One of the first things that we did when Buster and I started at VCCP Digital in 2007 was to get rid of VCCP Digital. Our logic was that CP+B didn't have CP+B Digital, there was no Anomaly Digital nor a Goodbys Digital. What we wanted to do was digitalize all of VCCP rather than develop a separate stand-alone proposition. We didn't feel that we needed the word Digital in the agency name. It was about digital deliverables not digital descriptors.
However my title did have the word "Digital" in it (Head of Digital Strategy), but I always had a problem with it as a lot of the work that I was doing wasn't actually Digital. I crafted strategies and ideas that were participative, interactive and spreadable, but I'm not sure that I would have said that they were were Digital. That's why I am so happy that I'm now Head of Strategy & Innovation instead of Head of Digital Strategy. A minor tweak, but important. It seems a better description of what I do and what I am trying to do. Digital is important, but its not the most interesting bit of the job.
As Clay Shirky says ‘Communication tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.’ Maybe we're coming into the decade when Digital becomes technologically boring as the work becomes socially more interesting. I hope so.