Boston Ad World No Longer An Old Boys Club

It's been said that the ad agency world is an old boys club. In many cases and places that's certainly true. But not in Boston. With Kristen Cavallo taking over as president for Mullen, women now run the four largest agencies in the city. In the last 12 months, Barbara Goose was appointed head of DigitasLBi, Karen Kaplan was named chairman and CEO of Hill Holliday and Pam Hamlin became president of Arnold Worldwide. Of including herself in the boys club, Goose quipped: “Other than following men into the men’s room, I try to be part of every conversation possible." While women in some cases do represent a very large percentage of various agency divisions, one area is sorely lacking in female representation: the creative department. Just 3 percent of creative directors are female. It's no wonder most ads look like they were created by 15 year-old boys telling fart jokes in the bathroom between class.

Traditionally, agency self-promotion involves a lot of egocentric, pompous chest-beating. Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand is taking a different approach. They're making it easy for brands to fire their agencies and hire Saatchi with a bold ad in Thailand's The Advertising Book. The Advertising Book is an annual of all advertisers, agencies and marketing service companies in Thailand. It’s the marketing Yellow Pages for both agencies and clients alike. While every other agency runs fancy advertising about how creative they are, Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand took a different route. On the back page they posed a question: 'Need an excuse to fire your agency?' Then, via a QR code, clients were invited to view ‘Goodbye My Agency’, a mobile site with tongue-in-cheek excuses in ready-to-send emails that clients could use to fire their agency. The site also lets clients call for a pitch against Saatchi & Saatchi, learn about Live Creativity, the agency's real-time social and content creation hub or even invite the CEO for a coffee.

Writing in iMediaConnection, Chango Chief Product Officer Dax Hamman rang the death knell for agency media departments and media-buying services, saying: "In today's world ... agencies often build media plans that include ad tech partners that are buying on the exchanges, targeting individuals based on their own proprietary data. These campaigns are optimized by the ad tech partner's own team, rather than the agency planners, leaving some brands wondering what the agency actually contributes to the process. After all, with the media being purchased in open exchanges, an agency often can't even use its clout to bring prices down." He's right. Increasingly, there is less and less of a need for brands to employ media buyers when much of the task can either be handled by the brand itself or automatically through programmatic buying.

Translation, a New York-based agency founded by Steve Stoute in partnership with Jay-Z, is closing its Chicago office. Stoute tells AgencySpy, “As an agency our mission has always been to provide exceptional service to our clients, and to bring purpose and precision to our creative output. With the recent additions of President Nils Peyron and CCO John Norman in New York, and always with an eye toward the long-term growth of our organization, we have made the decision to bring our team together in New York and close Translation’s Chicago office. This was a hard choice for all of us, but one that will strengthen the agency immediately and for years to come.”



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