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.
  • A-List Hollywood Announces Call For Entry And Jury, Not A Single Female Juror In Sight

    Oy! Another creative award event? Sadly, yes. This one's comes from The A-List Hollywood and they have announced the call for entries for the Moving Image Advertising, Interactive & Branded Entertainment 2015 Award. The entry deadline set for January 30, 2015.

    I'm told the A-List Hollywood is the first creative advertising competition of its kind in Hollywood and will focus on the intersection between advertising and entertainment across all platforms. The event will be judged by the usual collection of international creatives including Leo Burnett's Mark Tutsell, JWT's Matt Eastwood, 360i's Pierre Lipton, and DDB Germany's Eric Schoeffler, among others. And no, there's not one single woman on the jury.

    Of the awards, The Martin Agency Chief Creative Director Joe Alexander said: "There are way too many award shows and way too many without a clear purpose. The A-List Hollywood is the rare exception. It rewards the brands -- and agencies -- that are behaving in the most creative and engaging ways. Now that's refreshing."

    Right, Joe. That's vastly different from every single other award event on the planet.

  • Spot Trender Wants to Measure Your Super Bowl Ad Performance

    Hey agencies, want to know how your Super Bowl spots do this year from a source other than USA Today? Well let me introduce you to Spot Trender. In its second year, the service analyzes second-by second consumer response to ads during the game.

    With its Super Bowl ad performance measurement efforts, for which brands must sign up to be measured, Spot Trender aims to illustrate how their "cloud-based, pre-testing platform can help all brands pinpoint consumer reactions to their spots at any point in the creative process." 

    Most of Spot Trender's testing happens earlier in the creative process with storyboards or animatics to help brands spend less money downstream on major production edits. But with the the Super Bowl, Spot Trender offers a peek into how some of this year's creative concepts rank. 

    Spot Trender's analysis last year included competition among brands like GoDaddy and Squarespace, revealing the points in each company's commercials where consumers reacted positively or negatively. Both spots featured bodybuilders and business owners, with highlights like GoDaddy's Danika Patrick reveal, and Squarespace's tag line both receiving the most positive responses.
  • McCann Gets In Trouble Over Unapproved S&M Domino's Ad

    Like it or not, clearly there's a reason clients are in the mix when agencies are tasked with creating advertising programs. Because when there isn't, we usually end up with award show scam ads, little girls shot by the Taliban showing up in mattress ads and creepy-looking tongues engaging in BDSM activity to sell pizza.

    McCann Tel-Aviv is catching heat for an ad touting their sriracha flavored pizza that shows a tongue with a gagged mouth, arms and S&M gear chained to the ceiling. Right. Like a client would ever come close to approving that!

    According to a Domino's spokesperson, the ad was "an unapproved mock-up from an ad agency in Israel posted without our permission." I mean I'm all for stretching the creative muscles but I'm also for a bit of common sense, which far too many agency types appear not to possess.
  • An Ad Agency Placed A Camera In A Railway Station And Everyone Thought It Was A Bomb

    This is yet another incident which proves you can't go leaving bags in public places without people thinking the worst. On Wednesday morning in The Netherlands' Leiden railway station a plastic bag with a camera affixed to the outside of the bag was discovered hanging from a support beam in the station.

    Passengers alerted railway officials and the station was evacuated until the bag could be checked by explosives experts. No explosives were found.

    The advertising agency, whose name is not being released but is reported to do work for the country's train company, NS, was apparently given permission to hang the bag in the station for a project. It seems the agency had permission to do so, but neither police or railway officials were made aware of the permission.

    An NS Spokeswoman said: “For us, it is still vague. We will now talk directly with the company, because we also do not know why that camera was placed there, and why they used a garbage bag. Many questions remain."
  • Publicis Bought The Monkees!

    Oh wait, not The Monkees. Are any of them even still alive? No -- Publicis just bought France-based digital and social marketing agency Monkees. The agency will become part of Publicis Activ but will operate under the Monkees brand and be headed by by Frédéric Caussin and Manuel Godeux, the two founding managers of Monkees.

    Monkees currently employs 25 people and works with clients in mass retailing and specialized distribution, auto manufacturing, health and sport. 

    Of the acquisition, Publicis France VP Nicolas Zunz said:  "Monkees is an agency we have had our eye on for some time, and for which we have great respect. They have developed some innovative and cutting-edge skills, which will obviously be helpful in the development of our agencies in the west and east of France. It will also add to our national arsenal of digital expertise. We are very happy to welcome them on board."
  • Nationwide Severs Retainer-Based Relationship With Moxie, Agency Closes Columbus Office

    There's been a lot going on with Nationwide and its relationship with its agencies over the past few months. While its relationship appears to be solid with McKinney, things are not going so well regarding its relationship with Moxie.

    Confirming this, a statement from Moxie CEO Suzy Deering reads: “While Moxie will continue to work with Nationwide, it will no longer be on a retainer basis. Given this shift, we’ve begun the process of closing our Columbus office. Accounts currently serviced out of that location will be handled by our Pittsburgh and Atlanta offices. We are very proud of the work our Columbus team has produced over the years. They are a group of truly talented, dedicated professionals, and we thank them for all they have done.”

    It totally sucks when an office of an agency has to shut down due to client shifts or losses. It's not fun. I've been there and know firsthand what it's like. But life goes on. Mine did. And so will the lives of everyone involved here.

  • Mark Reed Takes One More Step Toward Replacing Martin Sorrell

    WPP has named WPP Digital CEO Mark Read Global CEO of WPP's Wunderman, succeeding Daniel Morel, who will become non-executive chairman. Read, who has been chairman of Wunderman for about a year, will continue in his role as CEO of WPP Digital and he will step down from the WPP board.

    Read has been quite active in WPP's digital acquisitions of late, a focus for the holding company and a primary area of focus for WPP CEO Martin Sorrell. And speaking of Sorrell, Read has been long rumored to succeed Sorrell when the head honcho deems his contributions to the holding company complete.

    Of the move and of Read's contribution to WPP and Wunderman, Sorrell said: "Under Daniel's leadership, Wunderman has become a global powerhouse that is consistently ranked among the world's top digital agencies. After 14 highly successful years, he has decided it is the right time to pass the torch. As CEO of WPP Digital, Mark brings a wealth of knowledge in digital technology and its application to marketing services, as well as strong links with our new media partners."
  • CP+B Completes Shift Away From Global CCO, Names Gustavo Sarkis CCO For Miami Office

    Former TBWA LA Creative Director Gustavo Sarkis has joined Crispin Porter + Bogusky and will lead creative for the agency's Miami office. When at TBWA, Sarkis worked on Gatorade and helped the agency win the Adidas World Cup account.

    At CP+B, Sarkis will head up all creative aspects and accounts in the Miami office including Infiniti Mexico and The Miami Dolphins. 

    The hire rounds out a shift the agency has made away from an agency-wide, global CCO to CCOs for each individual agency office. This shift began last January when worldwide CCO Rob Reilly left the agency.

    Of the hire, CP+B Chairman Chuck Porter said, "Our success has always been about the work. Gustavo has a real understanding of culture, and an extraordinary feel for making an emotional connection between a brand and its audience. He has a strong entrepreneurial spirit so it seems especially fitting that he should lead our Miami office, where it all began."

  • Fallon May Have Lost Cadillac and Purina, But That Didn't Stop Them From A Huge Comeback

    So Advertising Age is out with its Agency A-List list. You know, yet another industry self-esteem award including awards for best B2B agency, best multicultural agency, best media agency of the year, best creative agency, best international agency, best executive of the year, best comeback of the year, best creative innovators, standouts and ones to watch. 

    Now combine that with the publication's Small Agency Awards, which seem to have numerous geographical and employee-size breakdowns, and basically, you've got Ad Age giving an award to every agency in  the country. Okay -- maybe not every single one but, hey, every agency doesn't make it to Cannes or get considered for a CLIO so I think it's a very nice public service Ad Age is doing to keep the industry's egos well fed.

    But, hey -- an accomplishment is an accomplishment, particularly for Fallon, which was awarded the comeback of the year. After having lost the Cadillac and Purina business in 2013 -- half the agency's revenue, the agency rallied, pitched their butt off and drove revenue up 20%. And for that, they were awarded Comeback Agency of the Year.
  • Creative Hijacks Agency Hashtags On Instagram To Score An Interview

    Have your agency's Instagram hashtags been hijacked? Are you seeing a giant ad when you view images with your hashtag created by Dutch creative student Max Kurstjens? Well then he's identified you as a place he'd like to work. You see, Kurstjens, like every other creative trying to break into the business, is sick and tired of you all ignoring him and his creativity.

    So Kurstjens took it upon himself to get noticed. He created several different Instagram accounts and uploaded a collection of images that formed a large composite image that would be viewable to anyone clicking on an agency hashtag.

    Targeted agencies included Leo Burnett, AKQA, 72andSunny, Anomaly, Droga5, Ogilvy & Mather, DDB Worldwide and others. The composite image resulted in an ad which read: "We Have Your Hashtag" and directed viewers to WeHaveYourHashtag.com where Hashtags are destroyed. On the site, agencies can "reclaim" their hashtag by sending in an email with a prefilled message that invites Kurstjens into the agency for a cup of coffee. Way to score an interview!

    Check out a video of the stunt here.

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