BY NATE HOUGHTELING, ADWEEK

Not long ago, an agency of record (AOR) was the centerpiece of a successful advertising strategy. To execute an approach that included television, radio, print, outdoor and digital, a brand needed a single agency to conduct the orchestra. The general formula for these firms was simple and effective: Start with a big idea, articulate it in a TV spot and then let the message cascade down to everything other medium. Otherwise there would be chaos, right?

But over the last decade, the conditions that gave rise to the AOR have shifted. The gulf between what worked on traditional versus digital platforms widened dramatically. The digital landscape also splintered into dozens of self-contained platforms, each with its own audience preferences and language. Native content driven by digital stars is outperforming interruptive commercials. And it’s not that close.

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