BDW Making Digital Work – Day 2, Morning

Day 2 of BDW’s Making Digital Work was as, if not more, insightful and interesting than the first. We began with a panel discussion with Ty Montague (Co-Founder of the Co-Collective @tmontague), John Windsor (Founder of crowdsourcing agency Victors & Spoils @jtwinsor), Ian Schafer (Founder of Engagement Agency DeepFocus @ischafer) & Edward Boches discussing the different models of agency and how they are helping to transform the industry.

Co (

For Co, process is key, they only work with partners who are the best in the world, up for collaboration and those that they’d want to have thanksgiving dinner with – no assholes and partners where they talk right to the top.

Ty’s job at JWT had been to change the agency from the inside, and much as they had made progress during his years there, he eventually decided that this wasn’t possible and they moved to start their own shop. He says that as we transform ad agencies, some will die and some will evolve, but it is an essential transformation.
His advice, don’t make clients choose between loyalty & innovation, holding companies tend to mitigate against innovation & collaboration, because people always want defend to their turf, but they must transform. talking about holding companies he asked why global networks, like JWT aren’t already transforming their own internal crowds (JWT creative worldwide is over 10,000 people).

The Co: model is adapted to both ends of scale, really big companies where they can crush out wasteage that exists today and also really small startups where they can make a difference and get some ‘skin in game’.

Victors & Spoils (

This pure crowdsourced agency has a 3600 person creative dept, even though they won’t pitch and are unlikely to be an AOR. In this digital era as we move from scarrcity to abundance of both talent and tools, this model can and will work – it just comes down to leadership.

John’s advice is to look outside our paradigm and see how we can change things – looking at OpenIDEO which is already encroaching on the agency business and he recommends to take the innovation centre as far away from headquarters as possible!

Deep Focus (

This is a different agency model, that Ian started 9 years ago when he was 26; based on engagement as media is being disintegrated by technology.

The Engagement Agency Manifesto from Deep Focus on Vimeo.

Ian says that companies don’t change everyday, and that in fact diversification is easier – particularly for holding companies. His advice is to make digital as profitable as TV – we just need to figure out how! And to get everyone onto platforms and new technology as only when they use will they understand.

Edward Boches summed up by reminding us that you will never change bevahiour through attitudes, but you need to change attitudes by changing behaviour.

Alessendra Lariu (@alelariu), Group Creative Director McCann NY

Next up was Alessendra, as someone whose role it has been to change a traditional ad agency from the inside, Alessendra told is that changing an organisation is one of the hardest things in life and you need to be ready for chaos and ready to navigate what she terms as ‘chaos+’.

She wants us to rethink meetings – they are toxic and focus on key hires both senior and junior, to get the thinking right and get the work done. She also advocates for evolving the brief to a problem solving challenge and not a media buy.

In her teams, the traditional AD/CW has been replaced by copywriter & creative technologist or strategist & copywriter. There are no longer TV people and digital people, and she feels that today the idea is really only 10% of work, there is much more in the execution – a great example was the MasterCard Priceless Picks app.

By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

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