New Study Examines Importance of Agency Roles - The Results Will Shock You

Yo, creatives. And account people. And media people. And, yeah, agency founders. You're just not that important to the ongoing wellbeing of your agency. A new study from University of Texas Assistant Professor Sekou Bermiss made an interesting discovery. It's the Joan Hollands of the ad world that keep things afloat. Speaking to Harvard Business Review, Bermiss explains: "We separated the executives into two groups -- internally facing people in charge of things like production, HR, and finance, and externally facing people like account executives and creative directors. Then we measured the effect of their departures on firm survival. Losing people from the first group -- the internally facing executives -- was significantly more damaging than losing people from the second group." Yup, that's right, you hotshots in creative, media and Account service. You are not as irreplaceable as you might like to think.

Would you entrust your marketing to a 15-year-old? Well, one marketer in Sweden, educational institution Kunskapsforbundet, is happy to hand the marketing of three of its upper secondary (highschool) schools over to five 15- to-19-year-olds. Figuring people the same age as those being marketed to might relate better to the target audience and create better advertising, Cordovan Communications has launched a new, seemingly unnamed agency staffed by kids. To allay fears these kids will simply sit around Snapchatting and Whatsapping all day long, Cordovan will provide good, old-fashioned adult supervision. Of being selected to work at the agency, 17-year-old Markus Petterson said: "For me, working with art and design is really a dream come true. Working at Sweden’s youngest advertising agency is the perfect step towards such a career. Despite my young age, I have some experience of working life and think I can add greatly to Sweden’s youngest advertising agency. I already have a lot of ideas that I want to share." Now, if only agencies would hire Baby Boomers to market to Baby Boomers who, you know, have the highest disposable income of any demographic group. Sadly, that'll never happen. After all, just how hipsterific can an agency be with a bunch of gray hairs wandering the hallways? And, really, anyone over 40 is, like, so stupid. 

Daily Dot Media’s growing creative agency has added two new hires -- David Flynn, most recently director of VICE’s ad network for the U.S. and the Americas; and Chris Boyles, formerly of Razorfish and Digitas. Flynn will serve as Managing Director from the Daily Dot’s New York City office, and Boyles as Creative Director of the Daily Dot’s in-house agency from the company’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. No word on whether or not Flynn or Boyles are over 40.

Fully embracing the ad industry's biggest cliche, Dare CEO Sean Thompson is leaving the agency to pursue a career in filmmaking. Of the shift, Thompson said: "My time with Dare has been a wonderful experience. The people, the clients and the work we’ve been able to produce together have made me hugely proud. It's now time for me to pursue a personal dream and start a new venture that marries film narrative and digital experience. I wish them all the very best and will watch their progress with great interest." Oh now, come on, Sean. No, you won't. You can't wait to get out of the agency world and start hanging with the "Hollywood" crowd, right?

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2 comments about "New Study Examines Importance of Agency Roles - The Results Will Shock You ".
  1. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER , August 13, 2014 at 8:58 a.m.
    Maybe losing creative and account people helps a company more than hurts them. The study focuses on survival, but very few agencies survive more than a generation and a half; they morph into another agency entirely: witness Ogilvy, Burnett, DDB, BBDO. Companies change and Harvard should study itself before venturing outward to study the obvious.
  2. Chris Boyles from Daily Dot Media , August 13, 2014 at 2:56 p.m.
    I'm 40 1/2. I'll let you be the judge of whether or not that's a good thing.
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