Rick Boost
Oct 5, 2018

As The Ad World Turns: What role do consultants play?

If the ad business is a soap opera with sinking ratings, what do we make of the recent entrance of consultancies?

What does the ad business have in common with The Bold and The Beautiful or Dynasty?

During a recent presentation at Spikes Asia 2018, Adam Ferrier (founder and consumer psychologist at Thinkerbell) and Russel Howcroft (CCO at PwC) proposed that adland is at its heart a gigantic soap opera.

Titled, "Entering The Cagency Age: The Winners, Losers, and The Ignored", the talk compared the industry to an overly dramatic TV show that is lately experiencing a drop in ratings as its old tricks don't impress as much as they used to. Extending the analogy, Ferrier questioned whether the entrance of consultancies is akin to the sudden addition of an evil twin or similar new character to a show's cast—a gambit meant to reverse the ratings slide. 

In this video from Campaign, Ferrier and Howcroft (who are partners) are joined by Sudeep Gohil (head of brand strategy at KPMG) and David Phillips (partner at Deloitte) to talk about the role consultancies have to play in the ongoing saga. At the same time, where do agencies fit in, and to what extent do CMOs own the brand?

There's a strong need for the industry to update an operating model that hasn't changed in 50 to 60 years, as Phillips puts it. Are consultancies going to drive a real transformation in the way things work, or will we only wake up to discover it was all a dream and nothing has changed?

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