2019: Welcome to the 'post advertising age'

VMLY&R's executive director of experience lays out how the new year landscape looks.

It’s going to be 2019.

Forget everything you know. Forget everything you have been taught, suspend all your beliefs and sharpen your pencils, because 2019 is going to be a year of listening and learning.

Digital confusion has blinded us as an industry, guess what? We are way past digital (that happened in 2011).

Now that we have finally mandated that the word "digital" not be used, we can focus on where we really are.

The age of Post Advertising.

Post Advertising? Yes. Post Advertising. Let me explain.

Social media has proven itself to be too easily manipulated, hence its name, and ad tech still has a ways to go in terms of verifiable automation and creation.

Almost everyone (finally) agrees that TV reaches almost no one (because we are all way too distracted on our phones while watching it) and I think we all know by now that digital is way too fragmented.

So what’s left? Where are we supposed to pour our creative hearts and souls? What new medium and best practice are we meant to try to break now?

Welcome to Post Advertising. 2019 is the brink of a new age where connected experiences are expected to be expertly orchestrated, beautifully produced, digital and physical and involve the brand, the product, the consumer and the consumer’s friends all at once.

These are not ideas or campaigns.

They are intricately connected experiences that are part of a larger program or system, meant to evoke an ongoing dialog with consumers that goes above and beyond mere advertising. These are fluid, smart and highly responsive, personalized experiences that are meant to endear us with brands.

Like little theme parks with no lines.

We no longer care to passively watch commercials while waiting for something else to happen. In the Post Advertising age, advertising is that something else and it’s always happening.

Post Advertising no longer gets away with loosely emulating culture.

It has to be culture, create culture, contribute to culture and harness culture at all times.

Post Advertising is additive.

It is meant to enhance the world around us and not to disrupt or distract. It is smarter and more precise. It delivers awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty and advocacy all at once.

Post Advertising also forces us to work in a different way.

It requires different kinds of people who bring with them a diversity that is required to tell deeper and more personal stories.

Diversity is being comfortable not totally understanding everything.

Acknowledging that all the time we typically spend assimilating the work is exhausting and ineffective.

Diversity allows us to open up the work so that it celebrates everyone.


Agencies must now be simpler and easier to engage with.

We must create an environment where strategy and creativity is a single process, bringing our clients true innovation and not some sort of single minded form of VR masked as innovation.

A new way of working that requires courage. The courage to do things differently and to be courageous on behalf of our clientele. Courage is what we will be judged, awarded and compensated for.

The courage to be entrepreneurial, taking risks, navigating the unknown and bringing our clients along on that journey with us.

We are not Ivy League consultants executing the same playbook over and over again. We have to be able to thrive in chaos and deliver creative transformation at speed and scale. We have to allow our clients to give us a chance to show them what the future looks like. In real time.

To understand what it takes for a brand to behave in a highly connected world where consumers want to see and interact with a brand in a multitude of personal ways.

The lines between TV, radio, OLV, OLA, OOH, experiential, game, email, direct mail, social and website must be blurred.

All of these things are now just ingredients in a machine -- and if the part of the machine you are making doesn’t fit, it breaks the entire thing.

That is why we must all have a keen understanding of the entire system or program that our client’s brand lives within.

Welcome to the Post Advertising age.

2019 will be the only year we get to quickly learn what we need to know and make the right adjustments so that when we officially move into the new decade we are prepared to deliver these connected experiences and once again reign as the champions of creative persuasion and communication.

Happy New Year!

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