After a flurry of recent deals over the past month involving Google, Microsoft and WPP Group, it is no longer clear which companies are at the top of the digital advertising food chain. As online advertising grows in importance, the playing field looks to be tilting in favor of advertising agencies and technology companies with the best ability to craft and deliver ads in the online space. In Friday's Wall Street Journal (free feature), Emily Steel offers a broad overview of how companies are now working with a broader mix of agencies and technology companies than ever before as they craft new marketing campaigns designed for the online space.
In one of the examples cited in the article (see image above), Delta Airlines wanted to launch a new campaign timed for its emergence from bankruptcy. The company decided to use SS&K, a traditional advertising agency, to handle the TV and print ads, as well as Publicis Modem, its digital marketing agency. Publicis Modem executed the Internet components of the campaign, including the design of the banner ads, the development of the email campaign, created a social networking site, chose paid-search terms, and worked with a number of Internet advertising networks and ad-serving companies to make sure that the ads appeared on the right sites at the right time.
There was one quote that really stuck out, though. According to Ajaz Ahmed, the chairman and co-founder of independent digital marketing agency AKQA, "The agency of the future will be half a software company and half an entertainment company because that's the new landscape."
[image: Wall Street Journal]