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‘Traditional media will survive’

Calls for advertising agencies to be overhauled in the face of new media technology are wide of the mark, according to BBDO Worldwide chairman Allen Rosenshine.

Calls for advertising agencies to be overhauled in the face of new media technology are wide of the mark, according to BBDO Worldwide chairman Allen Rosenshine.

The American advertising veteran told the IAA World Congress that traditional media will continue to thrive — and agencies that jump on the new media bandwagon may live to regret it.

“We are changing a lot faster than some of us old timers can cope with. But the real world out there is changing a lot more slowly than the hypesters would have us believe,” he said.
Rosenshine was responding to a speech made last week by News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch, who said that “companies that expect a glorious past to shield them from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and fall”.

Rosenshine told delegates: “When he and many others tell us we must change, and fast, or we will die, I suggest there is as much danger in blindly accepting such hyperbole as there is in stupidly ignoring it.

“What I cannot understand is the marketing and advertising community declaring ourselves to be the dinosaurs of a dying communications world in which our only hope of survival is to stop doing what we have been doing with considerable success and start doing everything differently.”

Rosenshine, who began his 40-year BBDO career as a copywriter and is now ranked as one of the most influential men in world advertising, was speaking on the first day of the congress.

Talking about new hand-held and wireless devices which many observers see as the future for advertising, he said: “I do doubt that very many people will want to watch sports, movies or most entertainment events on a one-inch screen.”
And he told delegates that traditional media will be around for some time yet.

“Yes, there will be many types of information and other content for which wireless hand-held devices will be the primary medium,” he said. “But they will not put an end to TV, movies, magazines, newspapers, billboards or radio any more than TV ended movies.

“The fact is that we have no more time to spend on all this new media than we had 20 years ago.”

Rosenshine said the opportunities for new media are limited to “the apparently unchanging aspects of the human condition”.

He added: “And that is why advertising agencies must continue to do what they have been doing — only maybe better.”

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