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Will Advertising Week Solve Our Industry's Problems?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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It's time for Advertising Week 2012, or #AWIX if you are following it on Twitter. It's the time advertising professionals from all over the country (and some from overseas) come together and celebrate advertising, share ideas about the best practices of advertising, and what the future of advertising may look like.

Based on what we've been reading and observing (from away, we didn't make the trip), the common themes are mobile, content, and the agency/brand relationship. Oh, and JWT New York made sure everyone knew advertising is actually alive and well.

We have a love/hate relationship with conferences and events like these. First off, networking and spending time with people in the same industry is needed. It's great to bounce ideas off each other, to argue about where the industry is going, and to anoint and remove thought leaders in a fashion that would help AdLand get to where we think it should be. 

In theory, it's a great idea. In practice, it is filled with pomp and circumstance.

Perhaps we're wrong. Perhaps it is a problem with the gatekeepers; that the information needed to be shared and spread throughout the channels of communication is halted by the few glued to the laptops and smartphones, the advertising oligopoly who believe that the conversation should be set on mobile, content, and nothing else.

Maybe the problems that are actually pervading our industry just isn't sexy enough. "Yes, we know only 3% of creative directors are women, but THINK of the power of mobile advertising!" "Of course minority recruitment is important, but the first Advertising Film Festival is happening!" 

Sigh.

And don't get me started on writers. There's already a Part 2 of the Writer Shortage in AdLand in development. I can wait.

An attendee tweeted that the way our practitioners jump from one trend to another may be an indication of "shiny object" syndrome, or a part of a bigger trend. We think that even though these conferences and events exist, and that the intention for the exchange of ideas is there, no one really knows what the heck is going on. Jumping from trend to trend seems reasonable if we cannot justify sticking to one activity or strategy over another.

So let's take a step back. Advertising Week is not going to solve our problems, but it is certainly showcasing what problems need to be solved.

For those at Advertising Week, enjoy it. Prove us wrong by forcing conversations about serious issues in our industry. Push the current or become the thought leader that leads AdLand away from "shiny object syndrome."

Also, enjoy the parties.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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