Over 100 leading advertising minds across six continents agree: the ad industry is broken. This is the controversial conclusion of a globally crowdsourced new book titled, “Digital Doesn’t Matter (and other advertising heresies)”. Together they paint a bleak future for any marketing organisation that fails to adapt to the digital revolution. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Josh Sklar

The book was conceived by two veterans of the Asia digital advertising scene, Josh Sklar and John Lambie, who have just launched a KickStarter campaign to turn their findings into an interactive platform they plan to keep up to date as the industry continues to evolve.

Josh Sklar, XM’s founding employee and first creative director, states, “We’d been hearing the complaints from within the industry for years, so we finally decided to put it to the test with perhaps the largest panel of experts ever assembled on the subject. This project is all about helping advertising professionals adapt to the massive, global change that has put audiences in control. Brands and agencies are struggling to keep up, although these days, it’s mostly the agencies. We explore where the industry went wrong, what needs to happen to put it right and what will happen if we continue to let things go on as they are – driving talent out of the industry and the marketers into the arms of technical specialists.

“The Internet, social networks and mobile devices have exposed the advertising business model as dysfunctional and not forward thinking. Traditional agencies are having their lunches eaten by, on one front, big consulting and technology firms that are gorging themselves on those plum strategic and branding assignments. On the other front, smaller, more agile specialists in media, direct, digital, social, mobile, shopper marketing, analytics, search and a host of others are consuming all those scraps once considered too difficult and unsexy. What’s left behind is TV, but not the strategy. Agencies are becoming assembly lines that are sucking the life out of the people that have devoted their lives to their craft.”

John Lambie

John Lambie, another XM veteran who has since migrated into the technical start-up space, offers a counterpoint. “There’s also tremendous optimism out there. New, successful models are emerging and our contributors have been very generous in sharing them, although they sound heretical to some ears.

“The ad industry requires nothing short of a reformation. Consumers are sick of the old model of interruptive advertising. They’ve learned to block it, skip it or turn it off. The new models are about providing awesome, amazing experiences that truly engage a more fickle and demanding audience. This project is about challenging accepted norms and exploring exciting new frontiers.”

Their campaign, which has just launched on KickStarter, aims to create a living digital platform to herald these changes as they occur. Sklar is quick to point out, “A print edition is out of date before it even hits the presses. Just ask the newspaper business. Our industry needs a resource that stays current and keeps us all ahead of the game. Our goal is an updateable app-based publication for the iPad with Android to follow soon after.”

The industry luminaries who’ve joined the charge include David Sable (Y&R, the weekly ramble), David Shulman (Organic), Jon Cook (VML), Alan Schulman (SapientNitro), Torrence Boone (Google), Frederique Covington (Microsoft), Dirk Eschenbacher (Ogilvy & Mather), Jennifer Seidel (American Association of Advertising Agencies), Steve Hall (Adrants and Playboy), Brian Solis (Altimeter Group), Professor Edward Boches (Creativity_Unbound, Boston University, Mullen), Peter Kim (Being Peter Kim, R/GA), George Tannabaum (Ad Aged, R/GA), Åsk Wäppling (Adland.tv), Aden Hepburn (Digital Buzz), Steffan Postaer (Gods of Advertising, gyro), Bob Hoffman (The Ad Contrarian), Dave Fleet (davefleet.com, Edelman), David Kirkpatrick (MarketingSherpa), Dr Neal Burns (University of Texas), Adam Trisk (CrowdTwist) and over 100 more top industry minds from companies including Nike, Samsung, Dell, American Express, and Nokia.

Singapore is strongly represented with ideas and insights from Andy Greenaway, Steve Elrick, Jeff Cheong, Valerie Cheng, Peter Moss, Ken Mandel, Ian McKee, Patrick Low, Frederique Covington, Tobias Wilson, Craig Mapleston, Richard Bleasdale, Rafe Ring and a host of others past and present.

The two are financing the production by inviting people to contribute cash. You can buy a chapter or the whole book. If your ego is as big as your pocket, you can even buy yourself a place as a contributor.

To find out more click here.

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