Mark Gorman: What might 2013 hold for the Scottish advertising industry?

WHAT advertising industry?

The one that boasted Hall Advertising, 1576, The Morgan Partnership, Faulds Advertising, Guy Robertson Partnership, Riley Advertising, Rex Stewart, MacDougalls, Curious Oranj, Adpartners, WAM, Yellow M, Coltas and more in my brief quarter century in this ever-permeable bubble that we call advertising?

The industry that now stands watchfully, attentively as Redcoats at Rorke’s Drift?

Or the one that has its eye on a future that’s certainly lean but has almost unimaginable opportunities hidden away in the ether?

It’s hard to say if it’s tougher now than it’s ever been, but suffice it to say I don’t see many lavish picnics being taken on the lawns of Scottish advertising’s great survivors.

Neither do I see many Babettean Feasts laid out on the tables of Scottish clients. One can see why, if the potential or actual loss of HMV (please, let Fopp survive), Jessops and Blockbuster from our high streets is anything to go by. It’s not dissimiliar in ‘adland’, where, more and more, the smell of marker pens recedes into the past.

But the survivors are grasping the digital mettle, some themselves, some through divisions or subsidiaries. Those without digital nous will look ‘Mickey Mouse’.

What hope is there then for the great institute of Scottish advertising that at one time punched well above its weight and complained endlessly about too many players (I don’t hear that now following the past decade’s ruthless cull)?

I fully expect that over the next 12 months one of the big ad agencies and one of the big digital agencies will merge creating a real challenge to the Leith juggernaut.

Meanwhile, one of the larger digital agencies will pick up a ‘crown jewels’ ad campaign and all hell will break out as the  industry pours scorn on its ability to deliver ‘advertising standards of creativity’ to the project.

It was once said of specialist direct marketing agency, Story, that they couldn’t ‘do’ advertising. Not any more, as they dominate the Scottish Government roster (among other things).

Of course the aforementioned campaign will confound the sceptics by going on to scoop multiple prizes at the awards once known as the Scottish Advertising Awards but now, notably, folded into the newer and bigger Scottish Creative Awards.

The industry is deeply embroiled in ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ territory. Those that remain are responding resolutely, but the fact is we’ve no Mad Men left and precious few Ad Men.

In this blog I hope to be able to share some of 2013’s highlights and there surely will be some. So, let’s hear it for those hardy souls and wish them a strong following wind in the year ahead and a few breaks along the way.

Mark Gorman is an independent marketing consultant operating under the banner, ‘Think Hard’. He has over 25 years of experience in advertising, design, direct marketing, PR, professional writing (especially blogging), business mentoring, digital marketing and research. He was co-founder of the former advertising agency, 1576.[/private]