Back to Basics

I’d like to thank you all for being here for the 2009 TAAN Global summit. I know most of you traveled great distances to join us here ...

5 May 2009 2015 Views



I’d like to thank you all for being here for the 2009 TAAN Global summit. I know most of you traveled great distances to join us here in Copenhagen.  You represent agencies and perspectives from five continents, so I’m sure the exchange over the next three days will be fruitful.

Sean Duffy, TAAN, Opening Remarks to Global meeting


We began planing the program for this meeting last June at the Cannes Lions.  Many of the talks at last year’s ad festival focused on all the changes happening around Web 2.0 and social media. Chuck Porter (Crispin Porter + Bogusky) brilliantly summed up 7 days of lectures in one sentence “Everything is changing and you are so screwed.” And this was before the global financial crisis kicked in.

Cannes got us thinking. Is everything really changing? And are we really screwed?

To the first point, yes, things are changing. The way ad agencies are organized, the skill sets required to service clients, the way we are paid, the media landscape, the number of channels we have to deliver our message, the technology surrounding those channels, the competitors we face and the demands placed upon us by the economy, employees and our clients – all these things are certainly in a state of flux.

No doubt, these issues are important and need to be resolved. But in developing a theme for this meeting we wondered if all this financial crisis and change might not be distracting us from our core business as ad agencies — the reason many of us got involved in advertising and marketing in the first place.

Do you believe new revenue models and web 2.0 alone will save our agencies? Moreover will these factors build the next great ad agency? We don’t think so. In that sense, maybe we are screwed.

Keep Calm


At the center of this whirlwind of change we see two constants. They are the core competencies around which all great agencies are built:

    • The ability to discover a consumer insight
    • The ability to tell a compelling story around it


These are the basics and without them all the Twitter followers, Facebook friends and Google juice in cyberspace won’t be enough to help your agency or the brands you represent.

So we decided that this still point, the basic skills of our craft, would be an apt theme for this meeting. I propose that over the next three days we collectively get back to basics and address these 3 questions:

    • How can the basics create a competitive advantage for your agency?
    • How can you use the basics in combination with new media, new agency models and new technology to do it?
    • How can we as a network use all of the above to increase TAAN’s profile?


Picture 25 As part of that we have instigated the first ever TAAN creative awards called the Titan Awards. We first proposed this four years ago and were met with a lukewarm response. Given that and the short notice we figured we would get about 50 entrees.  We got 420.  And if you look around the room at the short-listed entrees, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of work your network is producing. So thanks to everyone who participated.  We’ll be having our first ever Titan Award Gala on Saturday evening. And if you haven’t been there yet, I’d encourage you to visit the Titan Award web site. You can link off the site.

So again, on behalf of everyone at The Duffy Agency, thanks for being here and for helping the group get get back to basics over the next three days and beyond.

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Back to Basics: Ad Agencies adapting to a Web 2.0 world

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Sean Duffy | @brandranter
Speaker, consultant & founder of Duffy Agency, the flipped digital agency that provides accelerated growth to aspiring international brands.