NBN to overhaul agency landscape

By Alexandra Roach | 5 April 2012
Razorfish senior vice president of strategy and planning, Joe Crump.

The roll-out of the national broadband network (NBN) will lead to seismic structural changes within the digital agency landscape, according to Razorfish senior vice president of strategy and planning Joe Crump.

If the roll-out mirrors global internet infrastructure overhauls, Crump has said it will lead to advertising agencies either acquiring digital shops or headhunting their top talent.

New York-based Crump, who was recently in Sydney for the Circus Festival for Commercial Creativity, told AdNews: “The internet in Australia feels like it did in the US six years ago. With the NBN, above-the-line agencies will feel a sharp need to acquire digital talent, just as large agencies overseas have.

“Digital agencies will experience a tremendous boom and large agencies, in a mad scramble, may try to acquire them, or their top talent, wanting to offer full-service capabilities.”

Crump said agencies would have to become experts at marketing programs but also at platform development. “This is typically very hard for conventional agencies to accomplish, as it requires technology and user experience expertise they don’t have in-house. If things evolve as they have overseas, almost all campaigns will be integrated. Brands now expect integrated campaigns.”

In addition to the billions of dollars currently being invested into the NBN infrastructure, he said the digital landscape will see significant cash injections from brands and agencies looking to play “catch-up” to bring their digital expertise up to speed.

“People will experience digital channels and campaigns as they’re meant to be experienced: with super-fast internet,” Crump said.

“There’ll be an absolute explosion in digital and e-commerce.”

Although Australia is considered several years behind other markets such as the US in terms of digital, Crump said this can be advantageous. He argued Australia can learn from the “dumb mistakes” that have been made in overseas digital markets.

One of the areas that will benefit most from the launch of the NBN will be the mobile and tablet space. “If I ran a brand, I’d contemplate doing an all-mobile approach,” Crump said. “Most brands don’t. Think about how a brand lives on mobile devices. Invest there and in the talent that can deliver that work. Whoever does this will achieve immediate industry leadership and look like rock stars.”

This article first appeared in the 5 April 2012 edition of AdNews. Click here to subscribe for more news, features and opinion.

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