Over on sunshine's blog there is interesting debate going on. Should digital planning be separate and be the domain of digital planners or should it be a tool in the box of planners? Period.
After having some lunch, I have come to the following conclusion. Yes and No.
It's time we (?) learned a lesson from the restaurant industry. Chefs are in many ways a great inspiration for me as they are the ultimate advertising men. They have to do the planning and the creative execution all in one. Plus making sure that they do it on a budget , like good Account Handlers(well most have to), and advancing the craft further. All the while they never lose sight of the strategic anker of their proffession: serving up great food that customers want to eat.
That's the trick. Serving up food that people wanna eat. Some do it via the classical French Cuisine, some do fusion cooking.
Another small trick is that the majority of the Chefs with 1 or more Michelin star have been trained in the classic French cuisine, the basis of modern cooking, at some point or another in their career. Some have chosen to move on to do different styles and explore different cuisines, some have choses to perfect it. But the root understanding and appreciation of the craft is there.
So why not have digital agencies. there could well be a market for it. That is not the real question.
One could argue that Nike did the right thing by not having Wieden do all the Nike+ stuff. Their strength is with emotional stuff in print and telly (bit of a generalisation, but for arguments sake, let's play along). You don't go to a restaurant to eat tapas with your coq au vine? why should you demand McDonald style service from your agency but that's a client problem and a post for another time.
The question is: Do planners understand the root of their craft, the consumer and what drives him? If they do, well than there is no reason why they should not serve up their food in a digital form. If their is not, well than it's time to re-evaluate the relevancy. For if you can not meet the never changing demand for consumer insight (but taken to a new medium) you should go back to school.
P.S. what if there was a Cordon Blue with a "Classis Cycle" for planning? I'd sign up. Just like mr King's book should be read by all.