Are agencies and clients in the superhighway’s fast lane? Steve
Shipside’s quiz finds out who knows what about the Net
‘Our suspicion is that with regard to the Internet, clients are ahead of
the game, rather than agencies,’ Mike Cobbe, the managing director of
Cobbe Smith Terris, asserts.
This is an opinion frequently put forward by new-media developers, and
just as frequently denied by agencies. What distinguishes Cobbe’s
comment is that he is offering research to back up his beliefs.
CST is a Website developer, with sites including Nationwide, Weetabix,
Lego and Ross Young in its portfolio. As such it’s a less than
uninterested observer, but its research was not so much intended to have
a dig at agencies, as gauge the awareness of their clients. CST
contacted 150 managing directors or heads of marketing, of which
slightly under half responded. A small sample, but one that reveals a
surprising amount of Internet usage.
‘The thing that interested us most,’ Cobbe says, ‘is that in answer to
the question ‘do other members of the family access the Net?’, 83 per
cent said ‘yes’. We feel it’s like the early days of TV when friends and
neighbours without a set came round to watch programmes. We feel Net
usage is underestimated.’
It’s also noticeable that a high proportion of respondents could put a
figure on what their Websites cost. What CST doesn’t mention, but which
should catch the eye of an agency, is that of those who didn’t have a
site of their own, a massive 83 per cent were confident it would cost
less than pounds 25 to have one constructed. You get what you pay for
and this doesn’t necessarily bode well for the medium if potential
buyers are plumping for the cheap end of the scale.
The good news is the high number of clients who have access to the Net
at home, allowing CST to claim that clients are ahead of the game.
Which is where we come in. With a certain disregard for notions of
fairness, thoroughness, or methodology, Campaign pounced on the first
agency managing directors, and their clients, who were unlucky enough to
answer their phones. We also took in a couple of media heads for good
The results were actually reassuring, but the high scores of our
respondents were only matched by the high number of people disinclined
to return calls or answer questions.
1. Off the top of your head, do you know your e-mail address?
2. Do you have Net access in the office? Who is your Internet provider?
3. What’s the address of the Playboy site?
4. How would you find out if you needed to know (would you know how to
use a search engine)?
5. What’s the difference between the Net and the Web?
6. You’ve been asked to produce a computer presentation or CD-Rom in
both an 8-bit and a 16-bit version. What will be the difference between
7. What is bandwidth?
8. What is MPEG?
9. What is Java?
Name: David Atter
Position: Marketing manager, Tango
1. Yep, dia1.msn.com and several others
2. No access in office but MSN (Microsoft Network) at home and
3. I don’t know but I guess it’s playboy.com
4. Yes, with Yahoo
5. The Web is a graphical front-end to the Net
6. Better quality graphics in 16-bit version due to the number of
7. The amount of data that can be sent or processed simultaneously
8. A video format
9. It’s a new language from Sun Microsystems that pundits are touting as
the operating system of the Internet
Rating: A bit of a star, a client to be reckoned with
Name: Trista Grant
Position: Managing director
Agency: Universal McCann
1. I don’t know it off the top of my head but I could find it in a
2. I don’t have access from my office but we do from various points in
McCanns. I couldn’t name the provider
3. I suspect there is one, but I wouldn’t know where it was. I am a
woman you know
5. Colloquially they’re the same, I believe the Web refers to a
technical aspect of how the Net works
6. I’m used to 16-bit thanks to having Sega as a client
7. The amount of communication you can cram down a wire; the wider the
8. We use the term in presentations as an example of jargon that no-one
understands. I couldn’t explain how it works
9. No idea, but things change fast and I’ve been on holiday all week
Rating: Not exactly a hands-on user
Name: Mandy Pooler
Position: Managing director
Company: The Network
2. Yes we have it, from Supernet
3. I don’t know, but I know a man who does
4. See above
5. I think the Net is the physical system and the Web is what people
6. No idea
7. I would understand it to mean how many bits you can transmit
8. Don’t know
9. A piece of programming that allows unlimited graphics on the Net
Rating: Good, claims that her five-year-old is better
Name: Pete Mill
Position: Business development director
Agency: The Leith agency
1. I have two, Compuserve and a Net address
2. Compuserve at the moment but not that happy
5. Yes, the WWW is a commercial end of the Net
6. It would run faster in 16-bit, and you’d get many more thousands of
7. Basically the amount of info you can send down a cable or radio
8. We have a laptop machine with MPEG, it’s a video compression
technique for full-screen video
9. A new Web browser plug-in from Sun giving animation and graphics
Rating: Impressive, possible closet nerd
Name: Steve Henry
Position: Creative partner
Agency: Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury
2. I have used it, but not for a while
3. There is one, but I don’t know where
4. Yes, I could find it if needed
5. Don’t know
6. Not sure, quality?
7. Capacity linked with speed
8. I woudn’t know
9. I’ve read about it, it’s a new software program
Rating: A game effort, and not as bad as he thought he would be, even
after looking around for someone to help him cheat
What’s the address of the Playboy site? www.playboy.com
How would you find out if you needed to know (would you know how to use
a search engine)? Any search engine - Yahoo, Alta vista, Webcrawler,
Lycos - would do
What’s the difference between the Net and the Web?
The Internet is the network of networks, linking computers worldwide,
the Web, while part of the Internet, is distinguished by being a
graphical publishing medium supporting documents and pictures. For most
people they are synonymous, but having Internet e-mail access does not
necessarily mean you can view Web pages.
You’ve been asked to produce a computer presentation or CD-Rom in both
an 8-bit and a 16-bit version. What will be the difference between the
For Mac and PC work, the term normally refers to graphic and sound
quality. An 8-bit limits the number of colours to 256 and normally
precludes CD-audio quality sound. A 16-bit gives thousands of colours
and CD quality sound, but requires a more powerful computer for
What is bandwidth?
The amount of data that can be transmitted by a medium. The more
bandwidth, the more data you can send at the same time.
What is MPEG?
From Motion Picture Experts Group - a collection of standards defining
video compression. Most important are MPEG 1 for full-screen full-motion
video on a computer, and MPEG 2 for digital broadcasting.
What is Java?
A programming language from Sun Microsystems, originally intended as a
means of controlling anything from video recorders to toasters, now
hailed as the next big thing in Internet applications. It is currently
used mainly to add animation and interactivity to Websites.
This article was first published on Campaign