Art directors and copywriters at online advertising agencies could find themselves fusing their traditional strengths with cutting edge digital skills if a decision by the Swedish shop Honesty becomes a trend.
Despite the dash to digital among agencies over the last few years, Honesty has just announced the abolition of all its digital roles. The aim is to encourage all staff to feel responsible for all aspects of the shop’s creative output, irrespective of whether it’s destined for a magazine, a smartphone, a TV ad or Facebook.
One roof for all
In a statement, CEO Walter Naeslund remarked, “Today we’re upgrading Honesty 1.0 to version 2.0, and in doing so we remove all digital roles from the agency. It just doesn’t make sense anymore to have separate staff to handle a separate area which is inherently impossible to separate from anything else. Instead, all roles at the agency will approach their work from a digital and mobile perspective.”
Naeslund went on to say that the main focus of Honesty 2.0 will shift from its early forte of fusing new technologies with traditional advertising (everyone’s doing that now) to harnessing the vastly improved speed of the internet for marketing. To this end, big organizational changes have been made to zap bureaucratic inertia, so that storytelling, strategy, advertising, design, production and PR will henceforward be under one roof, overseen by one creative team and one strategic account director. Out go separate roles like digital director and digital producer.
Can it work?
He believes this integration will improve speed appreciably and deliver better results much faster for clients (and at keener prices).
With fewer than 50 staff, however, Honesty has its relatively modest size on its side. Such a swift integration would almost certainly be vastly more difficult to accomplish for advertising colossi like BBDO or JWT. Its potential success is based on the assumption that client-marketing structures have evolved sufficiently along Honesty’s path to prefer its tightly integrated approach. Currently, many employ digital marketing executives to liaise with their counterparts in digital ad agencies.
Naeslund, however, is almost bullishly optimistic and believes that it’s only a matter of time before his model is adopted across adland. Is he right? Only time will tell.