Are Ad Agency Employees the Biggest "Empty Labor" Slackers?

Well, well, well. Is an ad agency one of the places where workers waste the most amount of time engaging in "empty labor"? In a new book, Lund University Sociologist Roland Paulsen examines the notion of empty labor interviewing people from various industries. Paulsen found, on average, that employees across all industry typically spend two hours a day slacking off. In a Wall Street Journal article, Paulsen was asked: "Where did you find the most empty labor?" Paulsen responded: "You can’t generalize from the sample. Most of them were office workers with academic degrees and a fair amount of autonomy in their work. If you want to engage in extreme forms of empty labor -- some people spent half their working hours on private activity -- then you must be able to claim some expertise, and that’s not possible for everyone. A copywriter at an ad agency spent most of her hours writing on her blog. I interviewed several web developers who had figured out how to come in late and leave early, and an archivist who wrote his master’s thesis while at work." So...just how many of you ad agency types are posting on your blog when you're supposed to be doing client work?

While it's difficult to ascertain where, exactly, the integrated versus specialized approach to ad agency management swings from day to day, there's yet another axis to consider. While all the talk on this topic tends to center around whether or not an agency is a one stop shop as opposed to specializing in a certain skill, there's another point to debate: the industry-specific vertical approach or the we service all industries approach to curating an agency's client list. The Brownstein Group President Marc Brownstein advocates for the former and writes: "I've heard agency leaders avoid this specialty vertical strategy because they didn't want to be too dependent on one industry, fearing a big setback when that sector is out of favor in a down economy. This can be overcome by maintaining diversity of clients while nurturing expertise in one or two verticals. And consider this: Specialists earn more than generalists, so it just may be worth pursuing."

Will you listen to Forrester analyst Nate Elliott? He just released a new report entitled "Social Relationship Strategies That Work." In the report, Elliott urges brands to stop using Facebook if they are looking to use it to build social relationships with their consumers. This comes just days after Facebook told marketers it was further throttling the prevalence of organic posts from brands. He says brands "don't actually have social relationships with their customers" and marketers have been wasting "significant financial, technological, and human resources on social networks that don't deliver value" attempting to do so. Elliott also believes that in two years’ time marketers will finally stop obsessing over Facebook. Are you going to prove him wrong? Here's what he sees for the future of Facebook. “Let’s be clear: We’re not predicting the demise of Facebook. After all, the site offers about one-third of all the display ad impressions online. But Facebook’s decade of dominance in social marketing is ending. Facebook will become nothing but a repository for display ads.” Ouch.

Big changes at Rosetta. Looks like Eric Healy, who joined the agency in February and was appointed CEO last week, has made his mark. In a bit of a shakeup, several senior executives are leaving the agency. On the list of exciting execs are Chief Creative Director Lars Bastholm, Head of Consulting Jay Lichtenstein, Head Technologist Grant McDougal, VP of UX Jason Zimmer and Managing Partner Jeff Thaler. It isn't clear whether these people were asked to leave or left on their own. Replacing Bastholm is North American CCO Alex Mahernia



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