Window of opportunity in digital, but for whom?

Keith O’Brien’s column in today’s PRWeek raised the issue of PR firms needing to draft creative talent in order to compete with advertising in...

Keith O’Brien’s column in today’s PRWeek raised the issue of PR firms needing to draft creative talent in order to compete with advertising in an integrated marketing playing field.
PR agencies' target… should be stars in the visual/creative arts, those who can actually create the visual, video, and Web components of campaigns...

But visual artist superstars are going to be resistant to leave their well-appropriated, well-compensated, and well-appreciated seat at ad and marketing agencies.

Underscoring the need for creative talent, even at ad agencies, is news that Nike is looking for a new ad agency with strong interactive, digital, and community-building capabilities. Although longtime lead ad agency Wieden & Kennedy will continue to handle the bulk of Nike’s ad account, Nike’s running shoe account is up for review.

The Wall Street Journal calls it a “digital wake-up call” for advertising, reporting, “What really unnerved Madison Avenue was that one of the main reasons for Nike's move was dissatisfaction with the agency's digital expertise, according to people close to the account.”
Nike now believes digital thinking should be at the heart of ad strategy, according to people familiar with the marketer's thinking. To make digital more central, it needs its main ad agency to be better skilled at digital techniques because the agency is developing ad strategy at the very early stages of a marketing campaign.

The Journal also points out:
Many traditional ad agencies, with roots in television and print, have been slow to grasp the impact of the Internet. In the past couple of years, as consumers and advertisers have begun shifting to the Internet, some agencies have responded by beefing up digital talent through both hiring and acquisition. But many firms don't have enough digital talent to meet client demand, and those that do often have kept the digital department separate from the rest of the firm.

The question is: With the rise of integrated marketing, is this a window of opportunity for PR firms to gain ground from advertising, or is it a wake-up call for PR, too?

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