Is advertising becoming too democratic?

It was Warhol who said:

A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.

When I say Democratic this is the definition I’m talking about.  Where it is accessible to everyone, irrespective of knowledge/background/education/colour/religion etc etc…

I read this article in Adage about how a small agency was gazumpted (love that word) by a corner coffee shop. It made for interesting, if scary reading.

But the truth is that it’s true.  And I think that this is a result of a few things:

  1. Low barriers to entry (technology) – The standard technology that is now used in advertising is available to all and sundry for a relatively small price (and coming down all the time) – this applies to creation as well as tracking.  Anyone with a laptop can create an ad
  2. Low barriers to entry (knowledge) –  There is no industry standard or minimum qualification like lawyers/financiers have.  Anyone can join in and do it
  3. Low barriers to entry (skills) – the above two PLUS the fact that the overall skill base of consumers with creative software is improving (‘thanks’ Adobe and Apple for making this stuff cool!)
  4. The market is ripe – clients are looking to make their money go further and small, one man shops will be much cheaper  and keener (even if they may take a little longer)
  5. Good enough is enough – everyone is covering their arse and doing something (even if wrong) is often seen as better than waiting to do the right thing
By this post, I am by no means implying that any one-man shop is going to be crap.  Only highlighting this new reality for agencies.  To be fair to clients, if I was a small company with limited budget, would I go to an agency (however small) or call up someone I knew who had an interest in this to help me? Definitely the latter.
What are your views on this new landscape for agencies?

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