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?
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.
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.”
Oh, those damn new business prospects. Always asking for spec work for pitches. Will they ever learn? It's like asking a doctor to operate on your toe so he can prove he'll be successful operating
on your heart without even knowing the details of your health condition.
The HubSpot blog, Agency Post, asked 12 ad agency execs to spout off about spec work and what they think about the clients who request it.
Here's one of the better responses from Fuseideas' Dennis Franczak who said: "In written RFP responses, spec work is a waste of time. The reader may not have any context to what you are showing them. I also think when people ask it in an RFP they don’t understand how important developing creative is to us. It’s what we do. Asking us to just give it away means they already don’t respect you or what you do. To them, it’s like hiring somebody to provide them office supplies."
He continued: "For in-person presentations, it’s your chance to show them how you think or how you arrived at your creative approach. 95% of whatever gets done in a spec creative pitch is tossed out because you don’t have the background or the relationship with the client to know what they really need, but it shows how you think and it shows them you want their business."
What's your take on spec work?
Let's see. In the ever-growing list of overly self-important job titles, we've got Chief Development Officer (ie, sales director), Chief Creative Officer (ie, creative director), Chief Experience
Officer (ie, director of UX), Chief Digital Officer (ie, director of digital), Chief Content Officer (ie, editorial director), Chief Client Officer (ie, account director), Chief Native Officer (ie,
director of editorial spam), Chief Customer Officer (ie, director of customer service) and the list goes on.
There's also Chief Intelligence Officer, otherwise known as the director of research. But we can't shorten that title to CIO because a CIO is, and always has been, a Chief Information Officer. Or the guy you call when your computer breaks.
Smartly, IPG Mediabrands avoided this whole idiotic mess and called their new media research tech guy, Charles Godbold global director of media intelligence systems. All well and good -- but can we talk about Charles's last name for a minute? Isn't it the coolest? It just screams "I am the God of Awesome. I boldly go where no regular intelligence guy has gone before!"
Godbold is actually founder of Media Pilot Pty, a media consultancy and analytics firm. He will oversee the rollout of his firm's analytics software across all Mediabrands offices.
Title nonsense aside, IPG Mediabrands CEO Henry Tajer explained the hire, saying: “This is self-imposed discipline as opposed to client-appointed audits. Having the capability and the discipline in-house to redefine, remeasure and then reapply those insights is critical to how we’re going to be engaging with our client base moving forward. The ability for agencies to be responsive and operate in a real-time fashion with benchmarking is something the marketplace has largely been unable to do. Having it as part of our process and engineering it into how we operate means we’ll be doing it in real time. It’s accessible to the buying and client teams all the time as opposed to on a quarterly basis or a sporadic basis.”
In super important news today, 45-year-old Nick Swifte, who works at Dentsu Mitchell, says younger agency people don't drink enough. Swifte tells the Sydney Morning Herald: "If the beer and chips come
out at 4.30, by 5.30 all the kids under 30 are gone.” When we were starting out in our 20s if the office turned on booze you would literally sit around and drink until there was nothing left.
Now the younger staff might have one beer or not drink at all. They just don't seem to have the same alcohol focus as the era when I grew up."
Swifte, however, is a big fan of drinking himself, saying, "I like getting drunk. I'm a big fan of it. Working as a media buyer there is booze everywhere. Any function you go to, every achievement, every win, every loss, it's all celebrated with booze. There's as much of it as you want and it's all free."
While this may make Swifte just sound like a drunk old Mad Man, there does seem to be a trend, -- at least in Australia -- of younger generations simply eschewing alcohol more than older generations. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's National Drug Strategy Household Survey, between 2004 and 2013, the number of 12- to-17-year-olds who do not drink rose from 54 percent to 72 percent while heavy drinking among 18- to-24-year-olds has dropped from 24 percent to 18 percent.
And while there certainly may be a drop in the drinking levels of those under 30 working in ad agencies, maybe Swifte is witnessing a drop because young folks are sick of listening to old advertising war stories while drinking a beer in the agency kitchen.
Anyway, I thought you should know this very important piece of news.