Six months ago, P&G, the world's biggest advertiser announced a new payment structure for their ad agencies.
They had been paying their bills in 45 days and were now going take up to 75 days. If my math is correct, and these days that's becoming less frequent, that's an increase of nearly 66%.
Or nearly double.
Or as one accounts receivable clerk put it, "Holy Shit!"
As Ad Age reported, the move threatens to send shock waves throughout the ad world. And the many commenters on the article have made it abundantly clear that the situation is, in laymen's terms, "going to suck!"
That was six months ago and the rippling effect has already reached my personal finances, which can be argued, are the most outermost circles of the ad pond.
As a freelancer I work for many different agencies, large and small. And have had to navigate a plethora of confounding corporate commensuration customs. I am always been happy to do so. Because the result was always a paycheck. Sometimes produced within days, a week, or tops, two weeks, after starting a job.
That is no longer the case.
Today, checks don't take a month, or two months or even three months to land in my mailbox. I currently have an outstanding invoice for work I did at the end of the summer. I'm not going to name names because I want to Be Big and Don't Omit myself from future assignments, but as my wife so succinctly put it, "that's bullshit!"
But hardly an isolated case. Another unnamed agency, part of a WaPPer of a holding company, is also a bit tardy with the payments and quickly approaching over 100 days late.
The irony couldn't be clearer.
Because while agencies and clients are taking longer to pay, they are simultaneously giving myself and everyone else on the idea end of the process, less time to create the thing they're paying for.
Campaigns that used to have a three week turnaround are now regularly cranked out in three hours. With three full revisions, no less.
It's all part of the movement towards greater efficiency.
And it explains why so much of the work you see today can't hold a candle to something like this: