Commentary

Mars CMO Accuses Clients of Imprisoning Agency Creativity

Over in Australia at the Association of National Advertisers conference, Mars Global CMO Bruce McColl said clients are keeping their agencies in "creative imprisonment" and stunting their work with excessive restrictions, low fees and overbearing bureaucracy. 

At the conference in Sydney, McColl said: "Are we creating conditions where they are prisoners, or are we creating conditions where they can perform at their ultimate ability and we can have mutual success? We have to free our agency relationships from creative imprisonment." 

On the notion that clients are underpaying agencies, McColl added: "We want our agency partners to make a good profit. If they don't, they can't recruit the best people to work on our business. We know creative makes an impact on our profit so we need to make sure we’re giving them enough money to reward their own team." 

And with regard to the notion that clients select and dispose of agencies seemingly on a willy-nilly basis, McColl said: "The guiding principle is for them to have predictability of revenue, to make sure they are fed and can reward the best talent. I can't understand how anyone expects to get good work from partners if they are under constant threat of dismissal. We don't want a culture of fear and dismissal from our agencies." 

Now if McColl and PepsiCo Global Beverages Group President Brad Jakeman teamed up, it's quite possible we could see a return to advertising's glory days. I, however, am not holding my breath.

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