Agencies Are Elitist, Protectionist, Breed Conservatism and Stifle Creativity

Writing in The Guardian, Victors & Spoils CEO John Winsor argues that the agency system has become a closed, shrinking creative system with creative elites that are presiding over a protectionist system that breeds conservatism and stifles creativity. Explaining why that is a bad thing, Winsor writes: "The reality is that we're living in a flat world where everyone from everywhere has the same technology and, with that technology are gaining the same skills to compete with anyone else. You don't become conservative until you have something to conserve. And there are many folks in the AIC that have a lot to protect. Today, why is a 54 year old (my age) creative director or strategist worth 5X more than an up and coming talent in Brazil or Asia? Especially, when they have thousands of followers and viewers on social media platforms. In this new paradigm, shouldn't it be a meritocracy? Shouldn't the best ideas win?" Millennials rejoice?

I remember wandering the exhibit halls in Moscone and Javits during ad:tech and seeing a bunch of scantily clad women attached to one another in a giant foam suit which consisted of three 8's. Those three eights represented UK-based 888 Casino, a category which has long been banned from exhibiting at most trade shows. Well, 888 Casino is now on the hunt for an ad agency to reach not only consumers in the UK but those in the U.S. as well. Are you up for improving upon babes dressed in giant foam 8's? The brand is looking for a "high-visibility activation campaign" using TV, print and outdoor. All of this as various authorities -- CAP, BCAP and the ASA -- re-examine how the gambling industry advertises. 

I could have told you 20 years ago when agencies started unbundling their services that it wouldn't be a good thing -- and that integration or at least multidisciplinary expertise under one roof was a much better approach to marketing than spinning out every new thing like digital, social or content marketing. It's funny to see the shift in the opposite direction take place as if it were a new thing. The "integrated" agency has been around since long before most people working in advertising were out of diapers. And to see them talk about it like it's a cutting-edge thing is amusing. Although not everyone gets it. Ogilvy Chief Digital Officer Brandon Berger gets it -- and of people who question the expertise of an in-house agency digital group, tells India Times: "It's a challenge. The idea of a stand-alone digital agency is a fallacy. There's no need for one. When consumers engage, they are not looking at digital as a different channel. We can't be thinking of traditional and digital but should instead focus on helping clients sell more to more people."

Hmm. If you have anything to do with the Procter & Gamble account, you may want to duck for cover. Greenpeace has launched all out warfare against the brand as well as its agencies. The organization assaulted P&G headquarters in Cincinnati by ziplining between two buildings to hang a banner which read: "Head & Shoulders: Wipes out dandruff & rainforests." And along with parodying P&G's recent Thank You Mom by insinuating the brand's acquisition of palm oil harms orangutans, Greenpeace placed two groups of signs outside the offices of Head & Shoulders agency Saatchi & Saatchi London -- one of which read "Protect Forests" which led away from the building and "Destroy Forests," which led into the building. Cause groups. Do they keep us on our toes or annoy us to death?
Recommend (2) Print RSS
All content published by MediaPost is determined by our editors 100% in the interest of our readers ... independent of advertising, sponsorships or other considerations.
  • Saatchi & Saatchi's Justin Billingsley Promoted to Chief Doorway Officer

    OK, OK, so Saatchi & Saatchi's Dynamic Markets CEO Justin Billingsley hasn't been promoted to CDO -- which, not to confuse matters, is a really a Chief Data Officer. Rather, he's been promoted to Chief Operating Officer -- but according to Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Robert Senior, the agency is big on doorways.

    Of the promotion, Senior said, “Justin and I have a great working partnership. It is as simple as this: we both stand in the doorway of the Saatchi & Saatchi network. From there I tend to look outwards, and Justin tends to look inwards. We need to do both in order to lift our game and achieve our purpose.”

    So, Chief Doorway Officer, right? 

    Anyway, Billingsley is fired up about the promotion and said" “This role represents an inspirational challenge to wake up to each day: If we are promising our clients and our people that ‘Nothing is Impossible’ then what kind of agency does it take to deliver this today and what will be needed tomorrow? We are defining what this means and transforming accordingly, combining new skills with a hunger for creative excellence and world-changing ideas. And it’s fun, making Saatchi & Saatchi more Saatchi & Saatchi.”

    A hunger, people, a hunger!

    All of Saatchi & Saatchi’s offices will report to Billingsley, who will focus on growing the agency and making the necessary changes to do so. He will continue to lead the agency’s M&A activity as well as continue to serve on the executive board and global leadership team of Saatchi & Saatchi.

  • New York Agency '6S Marketing' Has Launched A Campaign Asking Apple Not to Name Its New Phone 6S

    New York-based agency 6S Marketing has launched a campaign to encourage Apple to re-name its upcoming iPhone 6S to, well, anything other than the agency's namesake. The agency has written an open letter to Apple pleading with the brand to just call the phone the iPhone 7 because the agency says #WeAre6S.

    In addition to the open letter, the agency has purchased several mobile and stationary billboards -- one in Times Square, which read, "Dear Universe, Please call it the iPhone 7. Sincerely 6S Marketing."

    The agency says it chose the name 6S because it sounds like "success."

    The letter reads, in part: "See, our company name is 6S Marketing, but our clients, friends, and colleagues simply refer to us as good ol’ '6S.' It’s a small name but a big part of our identity — one we’ve been using since 2000, when we started this company in my tiny apartment. At that time, we didn’t think that one of the biggest, and most well-respected, companies would use it to name a mobile device. (We were still using Motorola flip phones at the time, after all.)

    Of course it's just all one publicity stunt because Apple, much like it did with the 4S and 5S, is going to do what it damn well pleases and no agency that no one has ever heard of is going to change anything.

    Nice publicity stunt though!
  • Havas Uses Airbnb to Recruit Interns With Rental Of Agency Loft And Couch

    The latest intern recruitment stunt has Havas Boondoggle Amsterdam offering interns a gig in exchange for a free stay in the agency's loft or, more specifically, the couch in the agency's loft. Rather than offering pay to the interns, the agency believes a one to seven night stay in Amsterdam, and all the excitement that goes along with that, is payment enough.

    Of recruiting interns through Airbnb, Havas Boondoggle Amsterdam ECD Menno Schipper told AdWeek, "Airbnb attracts the more adventurous kind of people. That's exactly the energy we're looking for in ad students."

    After contacting the agency through Airbnb, potential interns are asked to send in their portfolio for consideration. Once and intern is selected, there are a few rules which must be followed. Interns are asked not to drink all the beer in the fridge, not to feed the agency dog and, OMG, not to touch the other interns or employees.

  • Starcom Narrowly Avoids Wrath of FTC Over Disclosure Debacle In Xbox One Campaign

    An online influencer campaign for Starcom MediaVest Group client Xbox One managed by gamer lifestyle video entertainment network Machinima was found to have run afoul of FTC guidelines for disclosure. According to the FTC, Machinima paid two Xbox One endorsers a total of $45,000 for creating positive review YouTube videos and paid a larger group of influencers $1 for each 1,000 page views achieved but the company did not require the influencers to disclose they had been paid.

    A settlement reached Wednesday prohibits Machinima from engaging in similar campaigns and the firm is required to disclose paid endorsements in all future campaigns it manages. Of the ruling, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich said, "When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they're looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch."

    Positioning its deceptive actions as a favor to the industry, a Machinima statement read, "Machinima is actively and deeply committed to ensuring transparency with all of its social influencer campaigns. We hope and expect that the agreement we have reached today will set standards and best practices for the entire industry to follow to ensure the best consumer experience possible."

    Regarding the role of Starcom and Microsoft in the matter, an FTC press release read, "while Microsoft and Starcom both were responsible for the influencers’ failure to disclose their material connection to the companies, Commission staff considered the fact that these appeared to be isolated incidents that occurred in spite of, and not in the absence of, policies and procedures designed to prevent such lapses"

    An August 26th letter from the FTC to Microsoft and Starcom outline the findings of the Commission and indicate no enforcement action will be taken against either company.
  • Wieden+Kennedy Joins Oregon's Bike Commute Challenge

    This year, as it has done for many, Wieden+Kennedy is joining Oregon's Bike Commute Challenge month, an effort which encourages more people to commute to work on a bike. 

    In a blog post, the agency explains further, writing: "The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, a non-profit bike advocacy group based in Portland, puts on the Bike Commute Challenge every September, during which businesses compete to have the highest percentage of commutes by bike. W+K is always a front runner in the competition (we’ll catch you this year, Reed College!)."

    How many miles will the agency log this year? More than last, we hope -- but we're all just going to have to wait until the end of September to find out.

    Good luck, W+K!

  • Former Ad Exec Promises to Wear Your Agency T-Shirt In Prostate Cancer Fundraising Effort

    Anthony Kalamut, former ad guy and current professor at Toronto's Seneca College Creative Advertising, has posted a "pay it forward" challenge to ad agencies on his Facebook page. He has since posted to his blog for all to see. Kalamut has been undergoing some health issues and as part of his recovery, he began wearing various ad and non-ad-related t-shirts during his workouts and posting images.

    Many of the shirts he has worn have come from ad agencies such as Taxi and Strawberry Frog. He notes he learned from Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson that it doesn't take much to start a movement and with that thought, he's launching an effort to raise money for prostate cancer research.

    In his post, Kalamut writes: "Send me your agency's t-shirt and I'll wear it in one of my workouts, take a photo, post it and donate $10 to Prostate Cancer Canada. So please help me pay it forward and support my effort."

    In addition to the agency outreach on Facebook, Kalamut has set up a donation campaign directly with Prostate Cancer Canada on which anyone can donate directly to the cause.
  • Ad Couple Who Quit Agency Jobs To Travel the World Now Cleaning Toilets to Make Ends Meet

    A while back you may have heard about the South African ad couple who quit their agency jobs and decided to travel the world and keep a journal of their adventure. As is usually the case with these "find yourself" journeys shared on social media, activities and adventures almost always fall into the "damn, I wish I were them" category. Except for Chanel Cartell and Steve Dirnberger -- and likely, most others who just aren't honest -- not every aspect of their travels has been epically spectacular.

    In fact, they now clean toilets to help pay for their travels. In a recent blog post, the couple shared the fact that traveling the world isn't always roses or peaches and cream or whatever metaphor you want to apply. No, sometimes the money runs out and you've just gotta do what you've gotta do to make ends meet. And that's exactly what Cartell and Dirnberger have had to do. 

    In a blog post entitled We Quit Our Jobs In Advertising To Scrub Toilets, the couple share the less than glamorous side of world travel. 

    The couple write: "After being gone exactly 6 months, I feel it necessary we share the uglier side of our trip. Browsing through our blog posts and Instagram feed, it seems like we’re having the time of our lives. And don’t get me wrong -- we are. It’s bloody amazing. But it’s not all ice-creams in the sun and pretty landscapes. Noooooo. So far, I think we’ve tallied 135 toilets scrubbed, 250 kilos of cow dung spread, 2 tons of rocks shoveled, 60 meters of pathway laid, 57 beds made, and I cannot even remember how many wine glasses we’ve polished."

    And of the notion that we are often fooled by social media into thinking everyone's life but our own is spectacular, they add, "So don’t let the bank of gorgeous photography fool you. Nuh uh. I am not at my fittest, slimmest or physically healthiest. We eat jam on crackers most days, get roughly 5hrs of sleep per night, and lug our extremely heavy bags through cobbled streets at 1am, trying to find our accommodation (because bus fares are not part of the budget, obviously)."

    And so when you think your life sucks because everyone on social media seems to have such a perfect life, remember, social media favors the more positive aspects of life.

     

  • Crispin Porter + Bogusky Thinks Two Managing Directors Are Better Than One

    Following its new decentralized managerial model, Crispin Porter + Bogusky has hired a second managing director for its Boulder office. Devin Reiter, who previously worked with the agency on the Microsoft account before leaving for a year-long stint at McCann Erickson New York, has returned and will work alongside the office's other managing director, Danielle Whalen.

    Of the doubling up of managing directors, CP+B Global CEO Lori Senecal said: "We have small, tight teams of hands-on doers who are in charge of creating the very best work. So when an office becomes too large for one MD to have meaningful personal impact on each and every client business, we need to expand our leadership to deliver this promise."

    The move follows -- and is line with -- the exodus of Andrew Keller, a 17-year veteran of the shop. Keller's position as executive creative director, and the oversight that position provided, was eliminated to make way for the new decentralized approach to management.

    One wonders how long before the tide turns and the agency realizes the deck hands have taken over the ship and they've got a disorganized mutiny on their hands.

  • Top National Ad Agency Announces Half Price Logo Sale!!

    Well it looks like "top national advertising agency" Eye To Ad Media is at it again. Back in March they announced a "limited time promotion" on SEO, SEM, infographics, animations, responsive Web sites, copywriting and PPC management. And even more magically, they announced the fact that they now offer domain name registration and Web hosting services. 

    Now the agency that loves to write gushing press releases about the mundane offerings it decides are worthy of news has done it again. This time they've announced...wait for it...a half-price sale on all premium logo designs. Yup, you read that right. The agency will create a premium logo -- not a regular logo, mind you -- for half price. Oh, and it's a limited time offer, so you had better hurry!

    The rest of the press release reads like design 101 with gems like "Most business owners understand the importance of maintaining a healthy bottom line and know having strong logos, icons or emblems can build brands that are memorable and easily recognized" and "There's so much more to a brand than a logo, and a logo can become so much more than a brand. It can become an icon and carry a meaning among consumers that is known as a company's image. A strong brand can become nationally known, or even internationally known."

    I mean who knew?
  • First-Year Creative Develops Hilarious Ad Agency Bingo Game Which Pokes Fun At Agency Life

    New York-based first-year MRY creative Sam Bartos has unveiled Ad Agency Bingo, a bingo game which incorporates many of the activities, behaviors and plain old oddities he's witnessed during his first year at MRY.

    Bingo squares include such activities as someone blatantly drinking before 2PM, somebody Tindering during a meeting, someone using the word "disruptive," somebody's dog pees in the office, someone says "advertorial," someone takes a selfie, someone you've slept with is in the same meeting as you and more. 

    In Sam's own words, here's how you sore the game:

    “If you get a straight line, you can take it to your boss and ask that he promote you. Art Directors can become Senior Art Directors. Junior Copywriters will become Senior Junior Copywriters. etc.

    If you get a diagonal line, you get to raid the office supply closet, Supermarket Sweep-style.

    If your coworker gets a straight line, but you contributed by saying one of the things that helps them fill out one of the squares, you can scan their filled out sheet and put it in your portfolio as a project you worked on.

    If you give the sheet to an intern to and they get a straight line, you can take credit for it as long as you write them a nice LinkedIn recommendation on their last day.

    If you fill in a couple of the bubbles then get bored, fuck it, it’s 11:27. Lunch time.”

>> Mediapsssst Archives