BBH Wins Lynx Digital Account

An interesting ‘moment’ in online advertising. BBH win Lynx digital account. To my mind Dare have done some really amazing online advertising for Lynx (Feather and Blow to name but two), and I’m really surprised that the account has gone elsewhere (if the story is to be believed).

In principle I agree with this quote from the article:

John O’Keeffe, executive creative director of BBH London, said: “A couple of years ago, we might have been at a disadvantage in a pitch like this, simply for lack of having the digital craft skills in-house. We now have that capability: whereupon this, and any other digital pitch for that matter, comes down to the same question that decides any such process: who has the best idea?”

But at the same time I wonder if this is really true.

Is it always down to the best idea winning out? Not really. Do BBH have great ideas? Undoubtedly. Do they have outstanding ‘salespeople’? Almost certainly better then most digital agencies.

I’m not trying to put forward the case for ‘digital agencies’ (interesting how I’m now feeling more and more compelled to use inverted commas around various parts of the term digital agency) particularly. However, something I’ve noticed recently is that the nature of our clients is changing. Whereas previously we used to sell our ideas into digital people, we’re now increasingly up in front of a mixture of digital and advertising people.

The way in which you pitch your ideas to these two groups are massively different. Online people typically want to see more of the ‘how we’re going to do it’, where as advertising people take that stuff for granted. You see an idea, it gets made. They’ve never been through the pain of cross-browser testing a complicated website. And they don’t care how it gets done. And maybe that’s the way it should be (for advertising).

My prediction is that we’re going to see a fragmentation of how brands operate online, there’ll be a bunch of people competing to do online advertising. And a bunch of people doing ‘other stuff’.

I think I know where I’d rather be…

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9 thoughts on “BBH Wins Lynx Digital Account”

  1. Great post Iain. I agree with you completely. Digital agencies who get the technology and the marketing and know how to merge them have as good, if not a better chance at landing new digital work.

  2. IMVHO the shape of the ‘comms’ business in the next 5+ years is summed up in this article – nice one Iain! I think you’re totally right that ‘we’ (digital) get tied up in executional niceties in a way that adland really doesn’t (appear to) get worried about. They have production companies to do that for them.

    But it’s also true that adland has refined the (extremely important and, as clearly as this post shows, account-winning) ‘strategic’ and sales experience over the last century. Until ‘we’ can compete on those terms – which means either collaborating with or poaching from adland – then we will probably remain in the pitch getting excited about the things that, on the whole excite ‘digital’ people. Which is possibly more executional than strategic – and possibly what clients don’t (yet) share.

    So, the comms business is going to evolve and mutate and probably in-breed a lot. But I also know which side I want to be on: bring it on!

  3. Well said. But as a mate of mine at top ten agency said, clients are still happy to write them £50m cheques in a way that they aren’t with digital – yet.

  4. James, you’re spot on.

    I think that’s a combination of some of the things I talked about. Most digital agencies don’t have the track record, confidence, or quality of account management / sales to even ask for £50m, let alone know how to spend it ;-)

  5. Joining the debate from the other (dark) side of the fence, from my experience, the only Clients ‘happy’ to write cheques for £50m are likely to be the one’s who have researched the advertising to death. Literally. A fate which ‘you’ are still lucky enough to avoid. But without being able to track ROI effectively, it takes a brave Client to sign a cheque for any ATL spend these days.

    And account management ‘sales’ skills. Grrrrrrrr! No amount of selling can get a duff idea through! Believe me, I’ve tried many times ;-)

  6. What I fear is that although ad agencies are slow and cumbersome to react and evolve, they start to see where the money shifts to, and what their clients are after.

    And at the end of the day the have the $$$.

    I have a (bad) feeling that soon, they will start approaching talented, senior people from digital agencies (account, creative and strategists) , with offers they’ll find hard to reject. And every ad agency will have it’s in-house digital/interactive specialists.

    And because of all the reasons stated in this post and comments, and because ad agencies are still closer to the clients’ hearts and wallets, digital agencies are in danger of becoming production houses. Just like TV.

    Soon digital agencies will have to offer something more than just digital. My belief is that they will have to offer strong strategic consulting to keep the clients out of the hands of the ad people…

    it’s gonna be tough

  7. IMVHO the shape of the 'comms' business in the next 5+ years is summed up in this article – nice one Iain! I think you're totally right that 'we' (digital) get tied up in executional niceties in a way that adland really doesn't (appear to) get worried about. They have production companies to do that for them.

    But it's also true that adland has refined the (extremely important and, as clearly as this post shows, account-winning) 'strategic' and sales experience over the last century. Until 'we' can compete on those terms – which means either collaborating with or poaching from adland – then we will probably remain in the pitch getting excited about the things that, on the whole excite 'digital' people. Which is possibly more executional than strategic – and possibly what clients don't (yet) share.

    So, the comms business is going to evolve and mutate and probably in-breed a lot. But I also know which side I want to be on: bring it on!

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