Media X: Money Down

Enough with the jive-ass bullshit about cost efficiency. Don't show me the money. We need flair to resuscitate the marketplace, not felt pens seeking savings from a media budget like a cruise missile zeroing in on an Afghan village.

Fat chance. It's all about the ingots now.

Here we huddle, shivering, ears ringing and helpless to protect ourselves from the howling winds of financial fuckitude that are cutting our jobs, slashing our pay, and -- horror of horrors -- shrinking ad spend. For us, it's a terrifying and forbidding wasteland. For the small penises in client purchasing departments, though, the Second Great Depression (Say it, bitches! Use the word!) is heaven on earth.

They've redoubled the pace of their malevolent march up the asses of the media agencies, metaphorically pillaging and raping any chance anybody had of actually doing something creative with their clients' cash. What we have: At least $2 billion of global media business in play at the moment, and every dime of it on the table because some tool in a Unilever or Reckett Benkiser accounting office has decided that they'd rather have cheap media than good media.



Procter & Gamble -- don't even get me started. It's official now, isn't it, that purchasing executives are in charge of that giant media budget? In addition, what P&G is doing to media creativity it's also doing to actual creatives. You've all noted, have you not, how P&G is demanding control over which production companies its creative shops work with?

Next it's going to tell you how to decorate your conference rooms, that only bean burritos are approved for purchase at the lunch truck, that coffee has to be capped at grande at the corner cafe, and only automatic urinals are acceptable to the accounts payable department in Cincinnati.

I hope you all remember the Golden Age when Jim Stengel was shaking it up and making really cool stuff happen because imagination and innovation cost money, and those days are gone -- again -- at P&G.

Is this smart, given the dire state of the national and global economy? Perhaps. But will creating and disseminating persuasion by the numbers backfire? Count on it.

As Arthur C. Clarke said, it has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value. And it's far more likely that media shops will be disintermediated by a balding, blinking small penis in a marketing department basement dungeon somewhere than they will be by Google or the next gigantic new Digimonster.

Look, I'm the last person to be giving financial advice. I make a good living, and yet I'm up to my receding hairline in debt. I don't have enough money to press my pants, but I'll spend $90 on Key Lime Pie martinis and shellfish appetizers at happy hour.

Still, like Mae West said, I've been things and seen places. And all this slashing and cutting and decapitating and castrating by clients give me a chill up my chunky cankles. I have seen clients cut to save before. It never ends well -- unless of course, you don't mind stewarding frustrating and inadequate media investments and eating nothing but bean burritos at lunch for the rest of your business life.

2 comments about "Media X: Money Down".
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  1. Sheldon Senzon from JMS Media, Inc., July 15, 2009 at 9:26 a.m.

    Jack, great job, well done. We're certainly not in Kansas anymore, just what we need, bean counters deciding how best to leverage communication budgets. I've been in Media 35 years, I grew up with ROI, etc., but we all know it's not about squeezing suppliers and negotiating through threats. Regardless of the media, buyers and sellers have needs, and they both want the advertiser to succeed long term. Let's make sure we work smarter, not necessarily more cheaply. Think the bean counters in the cubicles still wear green eye shades and sport pocket protectors? Scarey thought.

  2. Zachary Rosenberg from Horizon Media, Inc., July 15, 2009 at 3:14 p.m.

    I'm glad you don't order that fancy stuff when I buy you lunch!!! Zach

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