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Further fragmentation in the communication business

April 2, 2009

It’s now clear that viral and social media has reached something of a threshold that it’s now fair game for specialists to thrive in the marketplace. Both areas have won over the the client cynics and now mass brands are eager to explore new venues in these domains.

Looking at the world of viral, it seems to have shifted into a new gear recently. The LED sheep film for Samsung is evidence of the sophistication of viral. It’s no longer a one hit gag wonder, it’s layered and detail and full of lots of elements.

Recent work for the MINI Clubman (not done at BSSP), also hints at a new sensibility. One where the tricks of the viral trade are so well known, that it’s now time for an ironic wink and a nod at the medium.

With social media’s accelerated rise thanks to Facebook and Twitter, clients are now all over these worlds and looking for answers. This new world is incredibly labor intensive and involves all kinds of discrete skill sets from monitoring and analysis, through to smart strategic responses.

It’s now clear that creating a great viral or building and executing a smart social media strategy are very specific skills that demand subtle and nuanced understanding of the medium. They also require bandwidth and speed of response.

Ad agencies aren’t that well equipped to play in this space, given their fundamental skills are all about creating commercial messages, not bare bones, message free entertainment. In social media, it’s about having specific tools, data sets and people skilled in the media who can create responses and ideas with social applicability.

In the short term, this will force agencies to identify and work with third parties to engage in this practices, where strategically relevant.

In the medium term, agencies with an eye to the future to re-inventing themselves will be wise to bring these new and very different skill sets in-house.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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