If for no other reason than I have seen client-agency relationships falter on a bad ad review, the trade mags matter.
What is interesting about the trades though is how perceptions of the two players, AdAge and Adweek, have changed, even in the few years that I have been in the business.
When I started Adweek was still seen as the upstart challenger that was just a little bit more with it than stodgy old AdAge. You probably wanted to read both.
Then things started to change.
Adweek, for a few reasons, just sort of lost its way. It’s a long story that can be toplined by saying that Adweek’s content was not differentiated, it wasn’t a must-read, it isn’t actually a weekly anymore, etc and so on. It was okay to get by just by reading AdAge.
I said “it was okay to get by just be reading AdAge” on purpose. It isn’t anymore.
Not only have columnists like Bob Garfield – for obvious reasons – and Al Ries – this guy has been saying the same stuff since my father was in college and, while he is rightly a legend, I kind of get it already – grown long in the tooth and ceased to write stuff that I have to read, but AdAge is only valuable in its print form.
And print, as even AdAge crows, is dying.
I flip through Adweek as quickly as I do AdAge (that is, very quickly), but Adweek is actually more than just the print edition.
And no AdAge, your ridiculously stupid 3-minute video (I am at work during the day and, because I am at work, I want something to read when I have the time, not a fucking video that I have to pull up and sit through. Think.) does not count as you engaging readers beyond print.
Where Adweek wins, and why I spend more time engaged with them and their content, is that they are engaged with readers through social media. Guys like Brian Morrissey (and others, for that matter) has an excellent Twitter feed. Adweek writers engage in the blog conversation. They are trying to move their online content to something more than a digitized print version.
Advertising is moving into social media. Branding is about more than just pushing messages at consumers. People want more engagement than passive consumption of information, with each engagement opportunity tied to the time and place of their consumption needs.
Adweek gets this. They are engaged. That is why they are a must-read again.
Even though I may still only flip through the print edition, I am getting information from Adweek from multiple channels and touchpoints every single day.