How to Save Advertising Agencies

Everybody seems to be looking for the next thing for ad agencies

Stavros Kontaktsis
6 min readJan 5, 2021


They are correct in doing so.

Things aren’t right in Adland.

Google and Facebook are out for our lunch money. Clients are building in-house teams. Big conglomerates are shedding personnel and building a new narrative selling consulting services and, yes, even tapping the CRM bandwagon. The same area they were making fun of till a couple of years ago.

Let’s face it. We managed to put ourselves in the spot, and for once, we cannot campaign our way out of the problem. As an industry, we are in dire straits, but at its core, our fundamental issue is, we forgot what our job is in the first place and how to do it.

Due to Covid-19, developments in our industry accelerated. The global lockdowns, work from home, inability to produce content, cancelation of live events, depression, and a fast turn to digital were catalysts that rapidly changed the landscape in which we operated.

What we did to overcome all this? Actually, we coined the phrases “The new normal” and “We are in this together” and started trying to make everybody forget what our jobs were. We stopped trying to sell products and started selling vague causes that we weren’t able to deliver on behalf of our clients. We even wrapped around empty streets and people with masks while doing so to make things even worse.

And it worked. But not in the way we thought it did. Everybody got hold of how awkward we acted during all this and took notice. And they started pointing out the obvious. We are not part of the big kids’ table anymore.

Scott Galloway on “Post Corona” references that Google and Facebook earn or shed the four big ad groups’ value every day in the stock market. He also tells a story about him, together with Boggle from BBH, being present at board meetings of Levi’s as consultants and referring to the fact that no one has an ad man as a consultant present in their…



Stavros Kontaktsis

With a diploma in Chemical Engineering I ended up in Advertising and Communications. I like gadgets and scuba. Opinions are my own.