4A's And ANA Play Blame Game Over Dearth of Agency Talent

There's a heated debate going on between 4A's President Nancy Hill and Association of National Advertisers' Bob Liodice. After Hill penned a piece for CMO Today on why ad agencies are starved for talent in which she argued that agency pay is much lower -- particularly for entry-level positions, because clients don't pay enough -- than other industries, particularly tech, Liodice shot back, claiming it's the inefficient agency business model that's causing the problem. Hill writes: "Extended payment terms, unreasonable indemnification clauses, incentive plans that don’t incentivize, FTE negotiations on hours in a year all add up to a system that is broken." Liodice counters, saying agencies don't do enough to recruit the right people and, once they do, they don't offer the necessary training to retain that talent. Liodice also points out that the estimated sales and earnings growth of agencies is far more robust than that of brands, prompting one to wonder why agencies -- which appear to be financially healthy -- can't pay more for talent.

In case you were wondering, there are four types of digital agencies. At least according to Propane Studio CEO Neil Chaudart, who has taken it upon himself to categorize digital agencies for us. First, he says there's the "digital campaign agency" -- which is basically just a traditional agency that comes up with big, emotionally moving ideas. He explains: "Digital campaign agencies push these ideas out to all digital channels with the intention of luring users back to a central hub or destination: It's the 'big idea' that hooks them in." Next is the "integrated marketing digital agency" -- which is less about developing the big idea and more about tactics such as SEO, SEM, mobile, email and other executions designed to drive traffic to a particular destination by using data, analytics and marketing automation platforms. Third is the "digital solutions agency" which goes beyond the big idea and gets down and dirty with the development of CMS systems, sales portals, inventory management and custom software development with a marketing focus. And finally, there's the "DX agency" -- which is all about creating that pervasive aura of customer experience "and utilizes human psychology to create solutions that, when combined, activate a strong, steady pull towards the brand." Sort of like a cultish religion, if there were such a thing in the ad agency world.

Content marketing is all the rage now, right? Everyone's doing it. Everyone has something to say about it. And everyone wants to provide it as a service. Even media agencies. You know, those folks who take deep dives into data in order to decide where the ads should go? Yeah -- not too a big a leap. At least according to Starcom UK MediaVest Group Co-Chief Executive Steve Parker who argues in MediaWeek that media agencies are, in fact, perfectly capable of doing content marketing. Parker argues that the role of media has always been about delivering the right content to the right person in the right context. Furthermore, he adds: "While everyone else has been debating who owns content marketing, we have been building a team of more than 60 diverse specialists who use data to understand what content a consumer wants and take responsibility for creating, curating, delivering and optimizing that experience." Hmm, sounds quite logical to me.

Boston-based PJA Advertising and education organization College Bound Dorchester is out with 3 Syllable Boston, a game that asks players to solve 20 puzzles to see how well they know Boston. Players are asked questions about where the Boston Marathon ends, where the city parties on July 4th, Fenway Park trivia and more. But the catch is that all the answers are just three syllables long. Which sort of helps with the guessing. It's all to "promote fun, optimism and goodwill citywide.”
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1 comment about "4A's And ANA Play Blame Game Over Dearth of Agency Talent".
  1. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER , August 15, 2014 at 7:27 a.m.
    Mr. Liodice makes points that are demonstrable if true. The ANA members can all take their advertising in-house and see if Mr. Liodice's propositions are valid against the mirror of reality
  • Bannersnack Further Dumbs Down Creativity With 'Professional' Banner Making Tool

    Bannersnack, a startup that aims to make online advertising smarter, has launched Bannersnack-for-Agencies, a platform for advertising professionals. Within the service, agencies get both a professional banner maker app and a DSP for their ad campaigns. 

    Bannersnack aids creative collaboration and aims to speed up creative production. It allows creatives to quickly sketch ideas with...oh wow...professional fonts, premium stock images and in app image editor. It's also got a built in collaboration tool allowing copywriters, art directors and designers to share their ideas with colleagues and clients.

    Of the launch, Bannersnack Head of Product Raul Popa said: "We really want to make online banner advertising smarter. At first, we were amazed to see how our app enables faster banner design for small and medium businesses. After that, we learned that a large part of our user base consists of designers and advertising professionals and we decided to step up with a solution for their needs. We were inspired by how easy it is to share and work with documents in apps like Google Drive and Dropbox. We believe that time is the most limited resource for our customers and that's where Bannersnack really shines. It saves time, eliminates noise and makes online advertising easier for everyone. We really think more agencies should try it and that's why we're offering the banner maker app for free, for a limited time to advertising agencies across the world, no financial commitments."

    Well, the upside is no one likes to create banners, no one clicks on them and some programmatic computer in the backroom makes the media buy. Why not another automated tool to further strip advertising of anything remotely resembling creativity?

  • New Vertical Social Network For Marketers to Give AgencySpy Comment Section A Slap Upside the Head

    Hold the phone! I mean the mouse! Or whatever we "hold" now that no one uses the phone any longer. There's a new...wait for it...social network for marketers launching. Introducing Shocase. Basically it's a portfolio site for agencies and freelancers to show off their work. Yeah, that's never been done before.

    Oh but wait! It's a social network. There's interactivity. Interactivity, I tell you! Yes, you can get industry news, interact with fellow industry mates and...grow your network! As described to me, it's "LinkedIn + Pinterest + Facebook + YouTube rolled into one."

    Yeah, this is awesome. A specialized social network for marketers. Remember Ning? That company allowed any industry or any person create their own specialized social network. It didn't go over too well. 

    Of his baby, Shocase Founder and CEO Ron Young said: "We think the next giant shift in media is happening right now. In the same way that TV was different from print, social media is just as different from TV, and we are seeing the first emergence of vertical social networks."

    Clearly, Young has never heard of Ning -- which, while not all that successful or as robust or as focused (yes, I'm un-making my point), was doing the vertical industry social networking thing ten years ago. Of course, Lee Clow, Chuck McBride and Vince Engel are on the thing so maybe it has a chance.

    Of Shocase's goal of connecting the marketing community, Young added: "It is harder than ever to find the right marketing or PR person, so the public needs a new platform to find who has the hippest shopper marketing in the packaged goods market place or who understands PR in a particular vertical. Shocase is a real-time catalog of the marketing or PR work that people have done."

    Or people could just consult the AgencySpy comment section for the unfettered truth.
  • Agency Converts Roomba Into (Incredibly Annoying) Office Productivity Machine

    You know all these agencies that are trying to re-imagine themselves as product innovators and inventors? Yeah, those agencies. Well, apart from the fact that most of the time it just looks like they're fooling around on an elementary school playground instead of, you know, doing actual work, sometimes...all that fooling around nets something interesting.

    Note that I didn't say valuable or innovative or productive or game-changing or anything remotely having to do with advancing marketing strategy. No, this little time waster from Nashville-based "ad agency by day, invention lab by night" RedPepper is pure folly. Pure nonsense. And an utter waste of resources.

    Then again, most of the time it's this sort of agency work that's actually worth giving a look. Because, after all, this business is so incredibly intense and taxing we need a break every once in a while.

    And so I give you the Roomba-powered Slackbot Bot.This little f*cker roams around the office loudly beeping and sharing such inanities as the fact that it's Taco Tuesday or that it's time to get the dancing shoes on and shake your booty or stalking you while you're in the stall taking a sh*t or rudely talking over the agency's talking head while he's trying to pimp their next Kickstarter project. 

    Of course, the whole thing is just an ad for Slack, a productivity application the agency uses to get its real work done. You know, when they're not creating stupid Slackbot Bots.
  • Tumblr Launches Creative Agency to Link Advertisers to Artists

    Tumblr has launched Creatrs Network  because that's what the world needs. Yet another spelling-challenged online brand. With Creatrs Network, Tumblr aims to connect brands with Tumblr artists who have found a cult following online but would like to realize some actual cash for all their hard work. Basically, it's yet another form of crowdsourcing.

    Of the launch, Tumblr Head of Creative Strategy David Hayes said: “We think the creative class is really the next generation that’s going to come up and change the world and we think we have the largest creative class of any platform.”

    Brands that join the Creatrs Network can provide their creative strategy and a Tumblr team will present the brand with selections from the 300 Tumblr users who are now part of the network. 

    Like a bubbly cheerleader on Friday night, Hayes adds: “We’re super super proud of the fact that Tumblr powers the world’s best content. The idea that Tumblr will power the best advertising campaigns on Tumblr and on Facebook and on Instagram and on YouTube and on display banner campaigns and their websites, it totally makes sense to us."
  • Toronto Agency john st. Opens Shop in Montreal

    john st. has opened shop in Montreal. Of the move, Co-Founder and President Arthur Fleishmann said: “We’ve been talking about it for close to 10 years. But in the past two years, it’s become more and more of a priority for us as we look to the future and how we help our clients solve more complex strategic, creative and production problems. So we’re doing it.”

    The office will be run by Montreal native Mylene Savoie, who spent her career managing large accounts such as Intrawest, Tim Hortons and Telus in Quebec prior to opening john st. Montreal as managing director. 

    Creative will be led by Sebastien Lafaye and Cedric Audet, who have worked most recently at Bleublancrouge. Of the creative team, john st. ECD Angus Tucker said, “We love the work Sebastien and Cedric have done on accounts like Toyota and Air France as well as the Church of Montreal and the Quebec Alzheimer Society. Between them, they have won multiple Grand Prix at CREA, and their work has appeared at Cannes, the Clio’s and Marketing. Their work fits right into john st’s philosophy, blending insight, creativity and cultural relevance into ideas that make our client’s brands unignorable.” 

    Of joining the agency, Savoie said: “It’s an opportunity to work on some amazing brands. john st. has one of the best client portfolios of any agency in Canada. And while our immediate priority will be to maximize our client’s opportunities in Quebec, it’s exciting to know that our influence will also be felt on a national level.”

  • Oh the Horror! Animated GIFs Unveil Dramatic Photographic Retouching

    Of course this will not come as a surprise to any of you, but you've got to admit that the whole Dove Beauty thing (from way back in 2006, if you can believe) has placed a magnifying glass on the work the advertising industry does for marketers for whom perfection is far more important than reality.

    In a collection of animated GIFs, Russian photographer Ashot Gevorkyan illustrates the dramatic changes that occur between original photography and final published product. He has collected ads that were shot for banks, video game ads and his own personal photography.

    Hey, you won't be shocked but just realize that this sort of thing does tend to rile the feathers of the digital collective with nothing better to do than spew their hatred for just about anything all over Facebook. But for us, we can just appreciate the awesome and amazing skill that resides in this industry, right?

     

  • Agencies Continue To Decrease TV Ad Spend

    A recent report from Standard Media Index paints a grim picture of TV ad spend. 

    While the Super Bowl is upon us and plenty of brands are parting with $4.5 million to appear during the broadcast, a recent report from Standard Media Index paints a grim picture of TV ad spend. 

    TV ad spend dropped 2% year-over-year in the 4th quarter of 2014, with October and November seeing the biggest drops. National broadcast ad spend fell to $4.8 billion and cable dropped to $6.8 billion. Notably, the computer and software category saw a drop of 40% in Q4 but consumer electronics did see an increase of 24%.

    Why the drop? Well, one can only surmise that finally, yes, finally, media buyers have wizened to the fact that maybe, just maybe, there's a bit of efficiency and effectiveness to a medium -- um, the Internet --  that allows for the measurement and automated management of just about everything.
  • Chicago Advertising Federation Honors Schafer Condon Carter's David Selby

    The Chicago Advertising Federation is honoring Schafer Condon Carter President David Selby with the Silver Medal award for his career and community accomplishments. 

    The Silver Medal is the highest individual honor awarded by the organization. Previous winners include: Rishad Tobaccowala (2013, DigitasLBi and Razorfish); John H. Johnson (2006, Johnson Publishing); Jack Klues (2005, Starcom MediaVest Group); Bob Scarpelli (2004, DDB Chicago); Rick Fizdale (2000, Leo Burnett); Tom Burrell (1997, Burrell Communications Group); and Keith Reinhard (1983, Needham Harper & Steers/USA).

    Of the win, Selby said, "I am humbled and honored by this recognition for my accomplishments in the advertising industry and contributions to our Chicago community. I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best people and organizations in the business, both agency and client, over the past 37 years, but it's ultimately the ad business that I really love, and coming to Schafer Condon Carter six years ago was the best decision I've ever made." 

    The award ceremony will be this Thursday, January 22 at a gala luncheon in Chicago.

    Selby began his career with Leo Burnett and later became chief marketing officer for two high-visibility Chicago companies: Sears, Roebuck and Company and Potbelly Sandwich Works. He joined SCC in 2009 as President. He also serves on the Board of Managers of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and was recently named chairman of the Governing Board of Gilda's Club Chicago.

  • Albuquerque Agency Takes 15 Years to Rebrand Itself

    When an agency gleefully tells you they've been toiling diligently on client work for 15 years and then in the same sentence informs you they are rebranding, the natural response -- well, at least mine -- is, "okay, so it took you 15 years to rebrand yourself?

    Okay -- so we all know it's not that simple. Agencies are busy. Agencies are terrible at doing work for themselves. So 15 years? Eh. Not so bad. But guess how they are rebranding? Yeah, they're changing their name from Esparza Advertising to Esparza. Yeah, that's right. Like every other ad agency on the planet, they, too, do not want to be associated with advertising.

    I get that agencies need to do more than just create TV, radio, print, online and social ads but, seriously, an ad agency is an ad agency.

    Of the rebranding *cough* name change, Esparza Founder Del Esparza said: “We’re very optimistic about how we’re positioned as a business. The kind of solutions we’re providing our clients, I feel from a business perspective, this is going to allow us to grow at a completely different pace than if we had not approached it in the manner we are.”

    Adding to Esparza's comment, ECD Adam Greenwood said, “Thirty, 40, 50, 60 years ago in advertising, if you had enough money you could hammer a thought or premise or an idea down someone’s throat. Now we live in a world where you can’t do that. You have to create something worth caring about, and then people will share it.”

    Yeah. An ad. That people share.
  • Mullen Is Closing Its Pittsburgh Office After Losing Highmark

    Well, it's a sad day for those working in the Pittsburgh office of Mullen. After losing Healthcare account Highmark Inc., the agency appears to be shuttering its Pittsburgh office at the end of March, according to a Pittsburgh Business Times source. The agency has had the account for 15 years and didn't make the cut in an ongoing agency review. Highmark is expected to make its final agency selection on Wednesday.

    Of the office closing, Michele Fabrizi, CEO of area ad agency Marc USA said, "I think it's very sad that business is leaving Pittsburgh. There are agencies, such as ours, that can definitely service that business."

    Pittsburgh area ad agencies have begun receiving resumes from some of the 45 employees who work in the Mullen office. Brunner Inc. CEO Michael Brunner says: We've had some inquiries by Mullen staff" and Fabrizi added, "Hopefully, they can stay in Pittsburgh and we can retain that talent." 

    It's unclear whether or not the Pittsburgh office's remaining accounts will remain in the Mullen family.
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