Through all of the rambling that was the post titled, The Future of Advertising is Design, Linda was kind enough to leave a link to a post she put together in the comments which contained the above quote from the venerable Mr. Lee Clow.
I have always intended to do a shorter follow-up post to clean that mess up and this quote gave me the perfect lead-in.
What I intended to get at, but derailed with tangents, is that based on what Mr. Clow is talking about above - that what we do now (at least those of us who are to survive in this industry) is far bigger than what in the past has been called advertising - we have to think bigger than advertising at the beginning of creating ideas.
If an ad agency* is to prosper at whatever it is we'll call it in the future, they have to think bigger than the standard TV, Radio, Print and OOH model that then tosses a bone over to "interactive" by asking "the web guys" to put the TV spot on the web site. O.K., they also want a micro-site based on the TV spot. And make it a "viral" micro-site while you're at it. Oh, and get the PR agency to do a press release on the new campaign. There. It's all integrated now. Right? (Pssst. No. That's wrong.)
Where most ad agencies are getting into trouble, at least in my best guess, is that they are starting with looking at reaching the client's objective/goal by asking, "What's the ad campaign we need to create to solve this?" Or, "What's the message we need to tell people that will solve this?" If your approach is to start by assuming it's an ad, or starting by assuming the answer is to tell people something, then you're going to miss significant opportunities and as the quote above says, your client's brand will not be able to survive against others taking a bigger picture approach.
This is where the link to design came in. I didn't mean design will become advertising or advertising will become design. I simply meant that as an industry, we need to bring design thinking into the process to help us think bigger than advertising.
That's all. For now at least... Ha!
*For the record, we can plug "digital agency" into this equation too. If a digital shop is only thinking about how to best solve their clients' problems with web/digital solutions, they're going to quickly end up in the same situation. The only thing keeping them safe right now is that what's going on in the digital arena has everyone excited and so they're not taking the same heat as the traditional ad shops. Once the shine wears off the penny, they'll be hearing the same song.