Is digital marketing becoming the new traditional?

One of the “Big Discussions” in advertising at the moment concerns the growth of digital, and the effect it is having on the industry as a whole, as well as the agencies that belong to it. So-called “traditional” agencies are expanding into the digital space, while the digital agencies that started off on the more geeky side of online marketing are becoming more creative by the day.

A fantastic example of a creative triumph by a digital agency occurred recently at the hands of South African digital agency, Quirk. A video produced for the web as part of a greater campaign for Savanna Cider, was deemed to be worthy of being shown on TV as well, and has since aired on South African pay-per-view channels MTv and the Mnet Series channel.

This example demonstrates a number of trends that are occurring in the digital space — all of them very exciting for those working in the industry. Firstly it shows that talented creatives are choosing to work in digital, as opposed to traditional “above the line” agencies. Online campaigns are often multi-channel, and span various creative mediums, and this affords designers, developers and copywriters a broader playground to work in.

Secondly – a related trend – is the growth in confidence that businesses have in online marketing and advertising agencies. As more marketing budget is shifted towards online (with the talent following the money), better work is being produced and the value of well executed online campaigns is proved time and time again.

Thirdly is the coherent and all-encompassing nature of successful, modern advertising campaigns. Not long ago (and indeed still currently for a lot of businesses), online campaigns stayed online, and offline campaigns stayed offline. There was rarely any overlap, and the messaging and creative work were often completely different. The great opportunity present across a lot of markets today is to create integrated campaigns that incorporate both online and offline features seamlessly. Whilst people who work in the industry usually classify themselves strictly as Digital or Traditional, it is important to remember that the most important person – the one who is being advertised to – doesn’t care about these boundaries at all.

Lastly, and perhaps most telling, is the increasing pervasiveness of all things digital. We can now see web design trends spilling over into print design. Software interfaces are mimicked in television advertisements. Social media is becoming so integrated into our daily lives that our experiences of it are shaping our ‘offline’ lives. The example of Quirk’s Savanna video could serve to illustrate our general acceptance (and indeed adoration) of web video. 

Video produced for web has certain characteristics, and a certain feel to it that is distinguishable from traditional advertising shot for TV. At least until now, that is. Could it be that this video is one example of our growing expectation that everything we are presented with tastes of digital? Digital is no longer a sideline entity, just one of many options.

Digital is fast becoming the new traditional.



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