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The new revolution in global advertising and marketing

This story is one that corporate ad agency networks don't want you to read. This is about frogs fighting dinosaurs, David v Goliath. It's about you, and me, and a whole bunch of talent who believe in themselves and their own ideas, writes StrawberryFrog founding partner and creative director Scott Goodson.

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It's about the fun of being a pirate. The marketing status quo is dangerous. Against this, a quiet revolution is going on. It is a worthwhile and important fight.

The big advertising agency networked corporations that control and dominate the ad market say: "If you challenge convention you can not be successful." We say: "Successful people have always challenged convention." Those who change the rules of the game define leadership.

Challenging the status quo in the traditional advertising industry is the most reasonable and safest way to create a better future for ourselves. Few would agree that today a corporate marketing job is for life -- right?

If you were around in the 60s and 70s, you'll remember what the big networks were like on Madison Avenue and in Soho. Gawd they were impressive -- all the well-dressed men in tweed suits. Their secretaries were beautiful. They had sofas in their offices -- for what I did not know -- but it was awe-inspiring. And these guys weren't even big bosses who worked on the top floor.

At the time, these big agencies dominated the world with the best advertising. They were like the Royal Navy running the British Empire. They cared about doing great work and they were invincible. They defended themselves against competition by getting big and establishing their offices around the world.

Until, that is, the 1970s when a menace emerged in form of the Saatchi brothers, who were able to convince the cash-rich City of London that marketing companies could make a huge amount of money. So the banks gave them lots of it and the big agencies found that instead of competition, they were faced with the first major challenge to their dominance: they were being bought up by these two brothers and others like them.

Then these big agencies got even bigger and the new measurement of success was not how much gold they won at Cannes but how long the dinosaur's tail could be measured by the stock market. When companies get so big they start to make decisions more on the basis of what's right for the stock market and less for the client. It's easier to agree with bad suggestions and more difficult to stand up for what's really right for a brand.

Now, in midst of a soft advertising economy, a greater menace has emerged for the big networked agencies. It takes the form of small focused agencies that use technology and a network of multicultural people to move fast and deliver quality. An entire agency working on a huge account using mobile laptops -- not within the confines of a big office building in one city. These are adaptive organisations that take their cues from the film and construction industries, where incredibly talented individuals come together for a specific purpose and then dismantle and regroup in a different form for another totally different client and his/her needs.

You no longer need a massive fixed overhead network to execute huge advertising campaigns and pack a powerful punch. You can do it with a core team based in one location and by pulling together hundreds of the best talents all over the globe via the internet and other communications tools.

You can do it. It works. When it comes to working for select international advertisers, we at StrawberryFrog are fighting against traditional network agencies and, our sister guerrilla marketing BlueberryFrogs, are fighting against traditional ads.

In the past, big clients have hired big networks to help them manage their internal geographical teams, but today clients have gotten a lot better at what they do. They know that they can not expect an outside consultant to fix a problem they have internally or in one of their markets -- they have to do it themselves. These clients know that when it comes to an advertising agency, what they need is one place that can consistently deliver the best ideas faster.

I'm not saying traditional agencies are incapable of creating wonderful TV and print ads. They do that quite well. The big corporate networks have absolutely wonderful and talented people -- some of the best. The point is the way they do it takes too long, too much time, money, and energy in processes that were developed almost 100 years ago. By using technology, the new breed of agency can work with clients, independent talent and affiliated small shops anywhere in the world as easily as if they were located up the street.

International marketing executives now understand they have several legitimate choices outside the mainstream agencies when considering international cross-border campaigns. In my experience, advertisers are attracted to the idea of working with internationally focused independents because of the obvious opportunity to cut costs. But it will be their realisation that they are also getting fresher ideas and more inventive thinking that builds the relationship.

Scott Goodson is founding partner and creative director of StrawberryFrog

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