1. problem is most “ad agency” folks are still looking at communication as one-way and linear. That is almost irrelevant…and because Austin has a growing share the “ad agency” market…some is confusing the two. Oh, boy, we ARE as relevant as anyone.

  2. Here’s a view from a major market: Austin, as a city, has done some nice work in the past. Not as much good work coming out of there these days.

    But the bottom line is, Austin is a small market. One of the better small markets, but still a small market – nowhere near on par with a NYC, SF or even Portland.

    Are you relevant? Not really. No one’s looking to Austin for the answers.

  3. Austin still seems like an incubator city. It needs someone that's a thought leader – an Ogilvy, aQuantive, GREY… GSD&M is well known but seems lacking in the online space.

    But on the other hand, Austin is famous for its grassroots efforts – and it looks like SXSW is helping to grow the interactive side of the city.

  4. Another way to view this is that Austin’s advertising focus has never been about creating “rock star” agencies. While we certainly are a full-service city, most successful agency folks I chat with are focused on low-level ROI producing activities. SEO, SEM, Social, User Interaction, Analytics, Web functionality, etc – and how they can be integrated with traditional.
    None of these activities “grab headlines”, are viraly distributed, or appear on the superbowl.

    However, if you take a look at where marketing budgets are headed you can see that many in-town agencies, really are on the leading edge.

    Let the other cities have the sizzle. I’ll take the steak.

  5. I find the debate to be meaningless. So some self-righteous guy in a “major market” isn’t “looking to Austin for answers?” What does that even mean? We’re talking relevance to whom, and in what capacity? It’s just such a vague topic that having such a strong opinion like that makes you sound dumb.

    How does one rank the importance of industries anyway? In terms of GNP, or people employed, or place in the zeitgeist? The original commenter ain’t so bright either.

  6. I have to agree that Austin offers the interesting lifestyle and there may be some decent tech innovation occuring here but this isn’t as large an economy as say the film industry or Sillicon Valley. Having moved here from Los Angeles, I have admit that the advertising innovation here is a bit more stagnant and that’s not to say there isn’t talent. There’s plenty of imported talent that work at these agencies. Those major giants like Yahoo and Google in the west coast or those motion picture studio with massive budgets to deploy on creativity are really what make Austin advertising look small. Just go to LA or NYC, drive down any street and you’ll see the difference on the “street level”.

  7. I’ve seen a lot of great creative fall by the wayside in Austin. It makes me wonder if this city lacks creative talent, or the ability to sell it.

    Also, most of what Austin agencies do locally pertains to the computer industry. Ever notice how most engineer types have little to no respect/understanding of marketing? It’s a boring industry to advertise for. With untalented and frightened marketing people walking the halls of Dell and the like. Most of these people wouldn’t know a good campaign if it was plastered on their windshield. If they did, they are usually too frightened to stand up and get on board with it.

    Tough sell when the people you’re pitching to have their kitchens decorated with wooden chickens and Texas stars.

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