Two insiders take the industry to account. Are you sold?

Shelly Lazarus
JOB Chairman and CEO
ORG. Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
PLACE New York, New York

"The ad industry isn't struggling for a whole new set of principles or abandoning the ones that made it great from the start. It's simply in the midst of a business cycle. I don't think it's more profound than that. And despite the economic downturn, I'm having more fun today than at any other moment in my 30-year advertising career. The game is more interesting and more relevant than ever.

"Consider the value that an ad agency brings. We help build brands, and a brand is the most critical asset a company has today. Sure, we're under more scrutiny from clients, but accountability means credibility. Accountability within an economic model brings us into the client's boardroom and makes us more significant business partners.

"That said, I'm not convinced that agencies are paid in a way that is consistent with the value we bring. I also think that the industry is held to standards that no other set of professional-services companies are held to: That is, we usually can't work for competing companies. If I work for a company that produces coffee, but I happen to sell its breakfast cereal, is it fair for my client to insist that I not work on a competitor's coffee brand? In this age of consolidation, such conflict increasingly limits business opportunities."

Bob Schmetterer
JOB Chairman and CEO
ORG. Euro RSCG Worldwide
PLACE New York, New York

"Advertising is at an inflection point not only because of last year alone, but also because of the past five years - and the next five years. From smarter consumers to the advent of digital technology and the structural change of advertising on a global scale, the convergence of big changes has created a period of reinvention. The advertising industry has got to understand that it's no longer in the advertising business.