Media X: Agency of Change
Or was it "cackling?" No matter.
After Verklin used the phrase in every speech he made for a yea --I bet the final tally hit double digits--the industry rose up like a wildebeest goaded once too many times and made him stop saying it. Forever.
But hand to God, that man is the best thing that ever happened to you people. Because he swaggered. Which is what people do when they're king of the hill--which you keep telling each other you are, only you don't ever really act like it.
Which brings us to the other best thing that's ever happened to you people this week: MindShare's ass-kicking, outstanding, spectacular and what-took-you-so-long quadruple bypass on its whole business approach. GroupM impresario Irwin Gotlieb (the media business' version of Yoda) has been talking about this kind of re-invention for years, albeit in bits and pieces.
We've heard him harangue the industry about the need for media shops to move to an arbitrage model, to be more like consulting firms, to stop acting like deer in client headlights when it comes to demanding new revenue streams that fairly reflect media's increased strategic importance.
And the perennial favorite question of anybody who ever ran any kind of ad or media agency: Why do we keep giving away our intellectual property? (Usually followed by a despondent sniffle, such as one hears on the playground after a particularly painful tumble from the swings.)
Now, finally, a major media agency brand is actually doing all that stuff. No doubt clients will have, shall we say, questions. I imagine there may well be, as one observer described it to me, "complications" with MindShare's roster.
Naturally, competitors and observers have quips. "What can they do today that they couldn't do yesterday?" one asked me the day after the announcement. But they know, as one put it, that MindShare's restructuring into four discrete entities charged with execution, creative, counsel and client service is "fascinating." In the words of another, that it is "organizationally very sound."
Actually, it's more than that. It's about goddamn time. And if there is any blowback about this from marketers, MindShare will be taking the bullet not just for itself, but for every other media agency on the planet.
I don't know about the rest of you, my furry little media pets, but I feel change crackling. Or cackling.
Take your pick.