…as Allied Domecq boss slams ad agencies’ apathy

Allied Domecq’s vice president of media and brand communications, Patrick Burton, has hit out at ad agencies for their reluctance to make a commitment to new media.

Speaking at the Forum, Burton accused agencies of refusing to invest in the Internet despite their acknowledgement of its importance.

“It’s not about agencies putting their heads in the sand. Many agency heads see the importance of the Internet but are frightened to death of putting money into it,” he said.

Burton claims it is the absence of any clear source of income from the Web that deters most agencies: “They are waiting for a precise revenue path to emerge where they can see they are going to make money,” he added.

This failure to commit to the Internet is evident in the lack of new media expertise on offer in many agencies.

“All the agencies say ‘we have someone in our network who understands this’ but, you try to access them! We have to go out and seek advice from a whole range of people, advice that should be coming from agencies,” he said.

Burton’s comments were countered by Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s head of digital media Andrew Walmsley, who emphasised the task facing many agencies in getting clients to even consider using new media.

Also supporting the agency side was Unilever’s interactive marketing and electronic commerce manager Simon Darling, who maintains it is the responsibility of the client to lead the way in embracing new technologies.

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