New York agency Walrus sprung to life 15 years ago. In 2005, Frances Webster and colleague and spouse Deacon Webster had learned that the agency they were working for, Mad Dogs and Englishman, would close. (It has since reopened.) That was a Friday and the following Monday, the two opened Walrus with a bunch of account people and five accounts.
The intervening decade and a half were a time of rapid change for the industry. “It’s just so much faster and so much cheaper,” said Webster. “I mean, people are shooting movies now on iPhones, you know, good ones. Yeah. Back then, back then there wasn’t even an iPhone.”
Webster said the rapid digitization of media has had little effect on the role of advertising, which he said is still viewed as interruptive. Still, there is a small portion of advertising that people like and the agency’s mission is to make more of that kind of advertising.
Examples from the agency include ads for stool softener Colace that are designed to run as people are waiting for their videos to load and Feats of Middle Age, a campaign for magnesium brand Slow-Mag MG that features accomplishments like Getting Out of the Pool Without Using the Ladder rendered in comic-book style.
I am a veteran ad industry journalist with a fondness for tech. I have also witnessed first-hand the sweeping changes in the media landscape over the past two or three decades. I was the final editor of Adweek’s Brandweek and was the founding business editor of Mashable. My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist and elsewhere.