Change is on the horizon - leader from The Drum's October issue

Katie McQuater is magazine editor at The Drum. As well as editing the monthly print edition of the magazine, she writes features for the publication and contributes opinion pieces in her leader column. She tweets @KatieMcQuater.

The golden days of summer are over and as we find ourselves in a new season there’s an opportunity for some reflection before we hurtle towards the Christmas break at the speed of light.

Today, the advertising business is evolving faster than seasons can change. And, while some changes are cyclical, in tune with the economic climate, others are structural, demanding fundamental shifts in the way the industry does business and putting increased pressure on existing models.

Holding companies in particular are feeling that pressure in the wake of a disappointing first half of the year. They’ve felt the pinch of slowed client spending and short-term investment strategies. They’ve also watched with interest the impending march of the management consultancies.

Consultancies have been investing heavily in the creative industry and that’s not set to slow down anytime soon. Whether consultancies will succeed in their quest to eat agencies’ lunch remains to be seen. What is for sure, however, is that though it may seem their presence only serves to magnify agencies’ weaknesses, the consultancies have their own flaws to tackle too – creativity being one. But with the big players acquiring more creative shops than you can shake a stick at (just before this issue went to press Accenture Interactive announced its 16th acquisition in five years, San Francisco based agency Matter) it surely won’t be too long before they figure out a model that works for them. In the latest issue, we take a look at what these ‘method and madness’ partnerships spell for advertising’s future.

And from taking the measure of the industry’s health, we also explore creativity’s relationship with our own – the subject of a new graphic design exhibition in London. Historic campaigns like ‘Aids: Don’t Die of Ignorance’ are among the work featured as we look at the crucial role of communications in healthcare and wellbeing. The stark Aids awareness campaign created by TBWA in the 1980s was controversial at the time – people thought it would frighten the kids. But though undeniably bleak, it also saved lives.

Though over the years the needle has shifted from the humble poster towards new technologies and platforms, it’s clear that to get inside people’s heads, the principles of good storytelling remain. But to tell good stories, you need good storytellers. That’s why we also celebrate some of the industry’s best and brightest young creative talent, turning over 10 pages of the magazine to profile our US 50 under 30 – a list of the top young women under the age of 30 killing it in the advertising, digital and media industries.

While the 50 under 30 is an already established platform in the UK, this time we’ve shone the spotlight on America’s creative talent. At a time when the rights of women are under threat in the most civilized society in the world, and while the advertising industry’s predominantly male senior leadership ponder its future, these women live and breathe it. And as our cover suggests, they simply are the future.

Yes, change is on the horizon. But while the golden days might be over, one look at the new generation proves we’ve everything to be positive about. Or at least, isn’t it pretty to think so?

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Katie McQuater

As magazine editor at The Drum, I edit the monthly print edition of the magazine as well as commissioning and writing features for the publication.

Send feature pitches to katie.mcquater@thedrum.com

All by Katie