Media X: Sunshine State Squeeze

 "You are disgustuing," blogged Sarah about a Los Angeles Times column she disagreed with last week. What a great, if unintentional, new word. </p><p>


I looked it up in Feuer's Very Abridged Dictionary:  Disgustuing. From the adjective "disgusting."  A persistent pattern of disagreeable behavior.




If you eat haggis, you are disgusted.


If you make haggis, you are disgustuing.


Got it?  Good, because I've been following the Association of National Advertisers' annual conference in the hellhole that is Orlando this week, and while I have a great deal of respect for what the ANA does and how it does it, some of what is being said down there is disgustuing.


My biggest beef is with the CMOs who threatened to disintermediate their media agencies at a roundtable on Saturday. The marketers (Hewlett-Packard, Verizon and Charles Schwab) talked about how they wanted to talk to media companies directly, the need to "experiment" with different agency relationships, and other assorted slaps in the face.


Nobody likes a little taunting better than I do, especially when it's directed at an agency. But any advertiser that seriously thinks disintermediation is a good idea has taken one too many trips on Space Mountain.


Media agencies are where the best thinking in marketing communications is coming from. The clients can't replicate that. So maybe all this talk about cutting out the media services middleman really isn't about efficiency or relationships. Maybe it's just about the money. About scaring the crap out of their shops so they can squeeze more concessions out of them.


It might be useful if the Hewlett-Packard client read his own company's blogs. He would have stumbled across the HP Communities post last month written by his worldwide media director discussing a book that gushed about disintermediation. The post was headlined: "TV Stations Should Replace Ad Agencies - Are You Nuts!"


As for Verizon, I covered ZenithOptimedia's efforts on behalf of the telcom for more than six years. Trust me, the client would have been seriously disadvantaged without the services of the sharp minds at that shop.


And Schwab? They think cartoons are a big creative idea, so I guess it's not surprising that they believe disintermediation is wicked smart.


Alas, there was more. Such as a speech by TiVo's Tom Rogers in which he declared the TV spot dead because of time-shifting. Let's ignore the, um, nostalgic feel to this point of view -- Hey, did you hear about Clinton and the intern? -- and just say that Rogers really knows how to spin a yarn.


We also had BBDO leader Andrew Robertson deliver a little number about consumers' rituals. This was actually kind of sad. Ten years ago, the head of one of the most powerful creative shops in the world would have given an authoritative speech on the state of the business at the ANA. These days, they're asked to do shtick.


Maybe it's the location. Orlando has a knack for bringing out everyone's inner Mickey Mouse. According to the Feuer Very Abridged Dictionary, that's disgustuing.



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