Will Madison Avenue Become the La Brea Tar Pits of the Ad Industry by John Winsor
January 24, 2012 by Kevin Michael Gray
Today's featured article comes from Victor & Spoils CEO John Winsor's personal blog about advertising (johnwinsor.com). John takes an in depth look at advertising as it once was and the industry today. He discusses the way crowdsourcing has crept into the publishing arena and how it is slowly making its way into the 'Ad Agency puffery.' Read more below:
The news that Ladies' Home Journal was turning to crowdsourcing as a way forward was a bit of a shock to me. The first company I started, Sports and Fitness Publishing, was a magazine company. You could say that I have ink in my blood. My Dad, Grandfather and Great Grandfather were all newspaper publishers. Almost every summer job I had in High School and College was working at the Canton Daily Ledger, my hometown paper. I loved being a reporter, selling local advertising and working in the press. There was something magical about waking up every morning and with an idea of what might be the news that day and by 3 o'clock be looking at a finished, printed newspaper fulfilling the vision of being at the center of the community dialogue. Unfortunately, those days are long gone for the newspaper industry.
"What once were stalwarts of the media landscape now look more like dinosaurs on the verge of extinction. New forms are born from the skeletons of the old."
When I started Sports and Fitness Publishing I couldn't afford a staff of writers to write every article, like we did at the Ledger. With technology, two types of work evolved. We kept in house all of the management, client services and editorial skills but we free-lanced experts that might be more into a sport than a great writer. For Women's Sports and Fitness I couldn't see hiring a staff writer that could write a credible article about climbing Everest one month and doing the Ironman Triathlon the next. The editors provided the vision, hired the writers, edited their work and produced the magazine.
If you want to call it crowdsourcing, a term that certainly wasn't around then, so be it. It was an economic imperative that we ran the company that way. And, it worked pretty well. We eventually sold the company to Conde Nast.