In September 2007 I wrote a post Advertising agency websites: Digital masturbation that is one of my most popular posts and still, two years later, is the number one hit on Google for the phrase advertising agency websites. (In case you were wondering, that post is also number on Google for the phrase digital masturbation.)
Of course my use of the word 'masturbation' in the headline could also be a source of popularity...
Creativity is a commodity
That original post looked at the Web sites from the top ten advertising agency brands in the United States as ranked by Advertising Age .
Looking at the ten sites as a group, I got the impression that the creativity required to generate pretty pictures for magazine ads and 30 seconds of video is a commodity. When they all look the same, how do you choose?
When I revisited the ten sites two years later I was amazed that very little had changed.
The sites have these flaws in my opinion:
Within the past few weeks, two people contacted me and talked about updating some of the information. Kasim and I traded a few emails and wrote a post (in Turkish and English) called Website of the agency of the future. I connected with Becky Ebenkamp for her article Agencies Get Social which appeared in AdWeek today.
Still digital masturbation
Based on suggestions from Becky and Kasim, I revisited the ten agency sites from my study two years ago:
Wow. The sites are remarkably similar two years later. While some have made changes, many of the sites (especially the Flash introductions) look exactly the same.
New agency sites
However, with Kasim's help I learned of a few agencies that are going down a different path with their sites.
Crispin Porter + Bogusky has a big social media portal (currently in beta test) that they describe as a digital experiment that is like a big fishing net that points to what people are saying about them on blogs and Twitter. That’s kind of cool. Maybe you’re seeing this post on the CPBgroup site.
Modernista! has a fun message at the top that reads "Do not be alarmed. You are viewing Modernista! through the eyes of the Web. The menu on the left is our homepage. The blog is ours. Everything else is beyond our control." Interesting stuff. Certainly different than a flash intro.
What do you think?
What can the ten agencies I cited two years ago do to improve?
Are these new-style sites from Modernista! And CPB Group going to work?