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".
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  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

  • Saatchi & Saatchi Still Pimping 25th Anniversary New Directors' Showcase, This Time With MoMA Screening

    Following its premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and a showing in Milan on July 15, Saatchi & Saatchi continues to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its New Directors’ Showcase, this time with a New York City screening event at the Museum of Modern Art Tuesday, August 25.

    Saatchi & Saatchi will present the New Directors Showcase featuring this year’s directing talent as well as the U.S. premiere of “25X25”: an "experiment in film" directed by 25 New Directors' Showcase alumni who have been recognized for their successful film, television, and advertising careers.

    The “25x25” directors include Daniel Kleinman, Dawn Shadforth, Floria Sigismondi, Jonathan Glazer, Michel Gondry, Ivan Zacharias, Traktor, Dante Ariola, Ringan Ledwidge, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Carl Erik Rinsch, Noam Murro, Tim Bullock, Dougal Wilson, James Rouse, Jamie Rafn, Fredrik Bond, Philippe Andre, Jake Scott, Ne-o, David Wilson, Daniel Wolfe, Ilya Naishuller, Vania Heymann, and Charlie Robins.

    Of the event, Andy Gulliman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Director of Film & Content and curator of the New Directors Showcase said: “Back in 1991 an idea was conceived for a Showcase that would reflect the agency’s reputation for nurturing and developing new talent. 25 years later we are still committed to providing a global platform for new directing talent.”

    Saatchi & Saatchi New York CEO Brent Smart added: “It was a real highlight to experience the New Directors’ Showcase and 25X25 Film at Cannes this year and we couldn’t be more excited to bring this event to New York. I hope our clients, partners, and people find the same inspiration from the next generation of filmmakers.”

  • According to Agency Execs, Working With The Snapchat Sales Team Is A Bit Challenging

    It seems with the departure of former COO Emily White and former VP of Partnerships Mike Randall, Snapchat is facing a bit of a challenging re-org according to several ad agency executives.

    One executive, speaking to Business Insider on the condition of anonymity, said: "When they speak to us, it feels very ad-hoc. We wanted to do something with them that would make headlines — like McDonald's did with its geofilter but they were not equipped to do that and respond to our pitch and think of ideas. It seems to me like the McDonald's geo-filter came from the brand and agency, who asked them: 'Can you do this?' And the sales side says: 'Yes, we can, if it's not too hard for us to do.' It feels like they're saying 'We don't have time to do that now.'"

    Another agency exec added: "There's not a raft of case studies from an advertising point of view. And those that are there feel very limited. It's like the early stages of Facebook and Twitter, mostly talking about engagement and likes. We're at the start of a shiny new toy. From a brand perspective, Snapchat offers great access to a young audience and it's getting to the point where it feels unparalleled, like a deeper version of Instagram. What they need to do now is demonstrate they are a relevant and a credible advertising player."

    Of course, it is natural for a startup to experience growing pains, and Snapchat points out the amount of repeat business they have experienced from brands and agencies is a healthy sign of success. Of course, it could simply be shiny new object syndrome. And yet, Mondelez CMO Dana Anderson is pleased and said: "I love the fact that they're getting into the space and becoming an avid marketing partner." 

    Universal Pictures EVP of Digital Marketing Doug Neil added, "We were very satisfied with the experience," regarding a promotion they ran with Snapchat for the movie Ouija.
  • Jerry Della Femina to Launch 'Mad Men'-Like TV Show Set In The Seventies

    Jerry Della Femina, who Matt Weiner said inspired his AMC series "Mad Men," is planning to launch a TV show about advertising in the 70's which, he says, "Will make Mad Men look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. For those who don't get the reference -- I didn't -- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a 1903 American novel about the trials and tribulations of girl in Maine who lived with her two stern aunts.

    Of the series, which is still in the works, Della Femina said: "'Mad Men' was a show about the 1950s and ’60s." His series will be “a total crazy celebration of the not-PC ’70s, back when advertising was fun.”

    Of the type of topics his series will cover, Della Femina recants a story about how his agency held an annual sex contest during which people voted on whom they'd most like to have sex with and how much marijuana played a role in daily agency life.

    Can the market stand another show about advertising? Could it possibly be as good as "Mad Men?" Will MediaPost's Barbara Lippert write another amazing weekly column about the series much like she did for "Mad Men?" Can we stand 5-7 years of low-rider striped bellbottoms and bushy hairstyles? These are the burning questions of the minute.
  • Australian Agency Opens Production Shop in India to Offer Australian Clients Half-Price Work

    Sort of like sending chickens to China to be processed and then back to America to be eaten or Walmart selling stuff made in God knows where, Australian creative agency GooRoo is promising to offer creative production services for half the cost. How? 

    GooRoo, launched by former Ogilvy Bangalore creative directors Rod Vallis and Peter Jacobsen, is being billed as "the Australian agency in India." The agency has opened a production company in India and will do the "send chickens elsewhere to be processed" thing. The aim is to take advantage of cheaper labor in India as it relates to costs in Australia. 

    Hey, if I were Vallis and Jacobsen, I'd just keep that production studio a secret and just charge Australian clients the going rate. But that wouldn't be nice, would it?

    And Vallis and Jacobsen don't think so either. Of the setup, Vallis said: “One of the biggest issues we’re seeing is a lack of transparency. We’re hearing that some agencies are sending production offshore without necessarily informing their clients. We’re upfront about it as we see it as one of our main competitive advantages.” 

    And on why this is any better than any other agency doing the same thing, Vallis added: “Our point of difference is that we offer an extremely cost-effective rollout of your campaign assets. And sure, most agencies are now offshoring to cut costs, but we don’t have offshore partners, we have our own studio so we can ensure a better outcome than the agency networks.”
  • Art Director Lands New Gig With Resume-In-Bottle Stunt

    Recently, DDB Istanbul was in search of an art director. As is always the case with an open creative position, the agency was slammed with portfolios. But one portfolio stood out and was far and away above all others.

    Like a shipwrecked person on an island (after all, that's kind of like what joblessness is like), Canhür Aktuglu did the message in a bottle thing placing his cover letter inside a bottle and embedding a USB stick containing his portfolio in the bottle's cork. 

    Check out several images of his creation here.

  • Creative Director Shoots Award-Winning Photos of Kenya

    Ron Foth Jr., an ad agency creative director and commercial film director for his namesake agency, shot a dramatic photo series featuring schoolchildren at a remote village in Kenya. The photo series has been selected for inclusion in the recent Communication Arts 2015 Photography Annual. Out of 4,421 entries in the competition, Foth’s work was one of just 157 chosen by a jury of industry types. It's his first time submitting photos and being chosen for the award.

    The African School photographs were created for a campaign launching Heart of Africa, a new exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The exhibit features African animals, but also celebrates the customs, music, art and people of Africa.
  • Xaxis CEO Says His Agency Trading Desk Is Not A Trading Desk

    So we all know that an agency tracing desk is a place where agencies centralize their programmatic buying, right? Well, not according to the CEO of Xaxis, WPP's programmatic media operation. 

    According to Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser, “We are not a trading desk. A trading desk is a service an agency provides that is disclosed and acts as a filter for all programmatic media. If I’m an advertiser, and I spend $10 million in programmatic, I would rely on a trading desk to advise me on that $10 million, like what DSP to use, inventory, and data services.”

    Lesser argues that Xaxis is really a full-fledged media company, adding: “We invest more in technology than any other agency, so when we are compared to Publicis’ AoD, that’s like apples to oranges. That’s a trade desk, they have no internal tech, they rely solely on third-party tech. They are happy to surface the cost of their inventory because they don’t trade the way we do. I think as a result, they don’t provide nearly as much as we do.”

    Pretty soon we'll start calling trading desks media departments. Oh, wait. 

  • Barton F. Graf 9000 Beefs Up Creative Department

    Barton F. Graf 9000 has brought in a new creative team, Michael Hagos and Sam Dolphin, who have joined the agency as art director and copywriter. Hagos and Dolphin will report directly to Executive Creative Directors Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal.

    Hagos and Dolphin have been working together off and on since the pair were in graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University and became a team while helping to launch the New York office of Goodby, Silverstein and Partners. Together, they have worked on Comcast, New York Post, Street Easy, and Rock the Vote.

    Of the pair, Barton F. Graff 9000 Founder and Chief Creative Officer Gerry Graf said: “I love the different ways they find creative solutions. When I look at work, and I can’t figure out how the team came up with the idea, those are the people I really like. Michael and Sam are campaign thinkers who fundamentally understand that breakthrough ideas also need to sell stuff. Not to mention, they’re pretty nice guys to have around the office.”

    Before his time at Goodby, Hagos worked as a freelancer for a variety of agencies including Red Antler and Venables Bell and Partners. Prior to that, he spent time some time at Mother NY and Sid Lee, producing creative work for companies such as Target, Virgin Mobile, Stella Artois, Proust eMusic, and JCPenney. Before becoming partners, Dolphin worked as a copywriter at Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, where he created work for Dodge, P&G, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Nike, American Express, Sony, Special Olympics, and Herbal Essences, among others.

  • Because People Can't Seem To Part With Their Phones At Bedtime Or Operate A Regular Alarm Clock, This Agency Created JustTheBell

    Do you work in advertising? Are you tired all time? Do you wish you could get more sleep? Do you stare at your mobile phone before you go to bed? If you said yes to any of those and particularly the last one, TBWA's Dan Paris has a solution for you.

    The agency has developed JustTheBell, a wooden box that aims to rid your bedroom of your mobile phone so you can get good night's sleep. JustThe Bell comes with an app that you can use to set an alarm. You then leave your phone outside your bedroom and JustTheBell takes over from there, functioning as a good old fashioned alarm clock.

    The agency hopes to fund its little invention and has placed a listing on the French crowdfunding site, KissKissBankBank. Of course, you could just go to walmart and buy a $5 alarm clock and discipline yourself to ban your phone from your bedroom. Then again, that's asking a lot. Some of you may not even know what an actual alarm clock is or how to do anything in life without the assistance of some cool mobile app.

    Anyway, check out JustTheBell in this video here.
  • Creative Professor Makes Argument For More Advertising Creativity Awards

    If you aren't overwhelmed by the number of ad industry awards already screaming for your attention, be prepared for more noise if Berlin School of Creative Leadership Faculty Director Professor David Slocum gets his way. In a piece he wrote for Forbes, he makes the case for more, not fewer ad creativity awards and notes that current awards really aren't honoring the right work, given that so much in the industry has changed in recent years. 

    In his argument, he writes: "I am convinced that we should see more not fewer categories for recognizing creativity. I believe, specifically, for the realm of brand and marketing communications, that achievements in creative business leadership and organizational change deserve to be recognized. In these areas, dramatically new ideas and executions are arguably at the heart of the transformation of creative businesses today."

    Following that line of thinking, he suggests ten new award categories for the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity; Acquisition of the Year, Agency Business Model With Special Award For Fee & Compensation Scheme (no, seriously), an award for Agency Support Functions, Creative Culture Transformation With Special Award for Building a Culture after a Merger, Cross-Agency Collaboration With Special Award for Co-Creation, Marketing Technology Platforms and Systems Awards, Programmatic Agency of the Year, Strategic and Creative Talent Management, Use of Data Analytics in Building Brand Business Intelligence and Value Delivery to the Customer (not Client).

    Slocum makes no mention of just how these awards categories would be judged.
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