The ‘buzzing’ of advertising

Photography by Colin Gregory Palmer (2005)

By Rosa Mas Giralt

This week has marked the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Entrepreneur brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi founded the firm, and under the slogan “Nothing is impossible”, produced some of the most famous advertising campaigns in recent history. Notably the brothers have not been in charge of the firm since 1994, when a rebellion among shareholders led them to leave and to create a new agency called M&C Saatchi; however, the fierce competition between the two firms has become legendary in the advertising world. Yet, the anniversary seems to have marked a truce in their ‘business war’ and both agencies will get together in the Saatchi Gallery for a celebratory party.

The importance of knowledge networks within advertising (and other creative industries) is the theme that Mould and Joel (2010) bring to the fore in a recent article for Area. The authors use the case-study of London’s advertising industry to argue that social network analysis (SNA) is a fruitful approach to research “the networks within a particular industry and locale” (2010:282); that is, the networks which constitute the “buzz” or “the information and communication ecology” (Bathelt et al. 2004: 38 quoted in Mould and Joel 2010: 282) of people and firms in a given industry. The analysis of these networks provides a quantitative representation of the importance of knowledge exchange for the economic success of a given business (in this case advertising) and establishes the framework to study the connections and key players that sustain and develop it.

Read Stephen Amstrong’s article “Saatchi brothers mark 40 years since the foundation of their ad agency”. The Guardian. 6 September 2010.

Read Oli Mould and Sian Joel (2010) “Knowledge networks of ‘buzz’ in London’s advertising industry: a social network analysis approach”. Area. 42 (3): 281-292.

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