Thursday, October 16, 2014
The Lost Art of Underthinking
I was in a meeting about a month ago. Actually, it does me no good to pinpoint the date of this meeting because I was in the same meeting 2 months ago. Two years ago. 5 years ago. And 10 years ago.
You know the kind of meeting.
A dozen of the agency's top minds gathered to share their opinions, ply their office politics and grandstand on a do-little, utterly-disposable, completely-mindless piece of crap communication that will cost $581,327 in research, labor and man hours to produce. And return $27 in actual revenue.
I'm no Nobel-Prize winning economist Milton Friedman -- we had the Friedmans over for Pesach once and Roy Friedman drank all the Slivovitz and started dancing with the drapes -- but the numbers simply don't jive.
Is it any wonder why ad agencies can't make any money these days and demand employees put in 80 hour weeks while chained to the SuperDesk™.
The simplest down-and-dirty, get-it-out-the-door project has become a mental clusterfuck that makes the current Sunni/Shia/ISIS/Yazedi crises look like child's play.
And media fragmentation has only exacerbated the situation.
It may take a village to raise a child but it takes a battalion to put together a banner ad. A small army to spit out an FSI. And a full-blown coalition to concept a simple TV spot.
Not since the last congressional caucus have I seen so many people accomplishing so little.
And yet the good folks in HR are still hiring more.
We don't need more.
We need less.
In fact we need less of everything.
Less people in the room.
Less client feedback.
Less pages in the deck.
Less top management.
Less circle backs, deep dives and base touching.
Less Devil advocates.
We need to do more with our gut.
Less with our brain.
And on that note.