Hybrid strategies are the future of advertising

9 Jun 2009

Future advertising strategies that are weighted towards television only or towards print only, but without a digital or online component, risk crashing in failure, the head of Ireland’s first hybrid advertising agency has told siliconrepublic.com.

Tim Hurles is the managing director of IO (Interactive Ocean), which he describes a media-neutral agency. The company, a merger of a traditional advertising agency called Ocean and a digital agency called Birth Digital, looks after big brands such as Opel, Marks & Spencer, Triton, the Wall Street Journal and Royal & Sun Alliance in Ireland, as well as Fáilte Ireland.

Hurles told siliconrepublic.com that the agency landscape in Ireland tends to be very traditional and weighted heavily towards traditional mediums such as television.

“From a client’s perspective, the traditional agencies are missing a trick. With broadband penetration increasing in Ireland, and sectors such as travel relying heavily on the internet to make sales, the heavy weighting towards traditional media is not doing them any favours.”

Hurles said there is a growing trend in traditional media houses, particularly newspapers in the UK, for print and online to exist side by side, and as such, digital and print executives need to work together as opposed to being separate departments.

“You are seeing this in the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and the Times, these are newspapers that have made a massive investment in online.

“It is a stronger approach, by looking at everything holistically and coming up with a more powerful offering across the board. Instead, in traditional agencies there would be fighting between offline and online, which is damaging for brands and companies.”

According to Hurles, the same can be true for advertising agencies. “Normally they would have a digital person in-house who they would just wheel in and out of meetings to talk about digital. But when it comes to delivering the real results, the actual work and development is outsourced to digital agencies.”

The merger of Ocean and Birth Digital, Hurles said, will result in an agency that will tackle each campaign in a fresh manner with an unbiased approach to web, print, radio or TV.

“From the briefing stage, we will know what we need to achieve, what can be offered and who the people are who will receive the message. What online strategies will work? Will it mean a TV campaign, because TV is far from dead. There are no preconceptions, only what needs to be achieved will be achieved.”

IO employs 22 people in Dublin and has projected billings of €4m this year.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: work from IO’s Opel Insignia campaign