Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homey don't play dat


I'm seeing a lot more of this these days.

And not because my DVR is set on a 24/7/365 search for anything related to the #1 ranked college basketball team in America, my Syracuse Orangemen.

The Jump Ball is de rigueur in the ad world.

Long gone are the days when an agency would earn 15% commission on all work done on behalf of their AOR client. That number has been halved. And if you listen to the whining of CFO's taking home 7-digit paychecks, halved again.

Even more troubling is the disappearance of the Agency of Record motif.

Now when a client needs to launch a new car, a new sneaker, or a new energy-enhanced vodka, they simply put the word on the street and wait for the craven, revenue-starved vultures (the ad agencies) to come pounding at their door.

It's all so upside down.

I can still remember a time when, at least the story goes, that if a client was being unreasonable or simply unreasonably stupid, Jay Chiat would tell them in no uncertain terms to take a hike.

Only he'd do it using words with many more hard consonants.

I don't know much about running an office or managing an agency. I have the financial acumen of a patio chair cushion. But it seems to me that we, the people in the ad business, have the know-how, the creative firepower and the rare ability to harness those imaginative powers to vault a client in the public consciousness. And with a little luck, into pop culture.

We have the secret sauce.
Client's don't.

I've been in meetings with them. They don't have anything remotely approaching that skill set. They know less about creativity and marketing than Ted Cruz knows about science and the principles of evolution.

Like I said, I'm just a Luddite and probably would have thrown my money in with Bernie Madoff, but my rudimentary understanding about supply/demand and the way the free market works tells me we shouldn't be pitching new business to clients.

They should be pitching to us.


3 comments:

George Tannenbaum said...

From your keyboard to god's ears.

Wade Paschall said...


Agree on all counts, Rich. And I'm still not over the Orangemen beating my Jayhawks for the Nat'l Championship in '03. Hope we fare better this year if we see you in the tourney.

max said...

thank God they finally lost. I could feel your swelling head all the way over here.