Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cancel everything

According to a recent article in Ad Age -- not as reliable as Agency Spy, but still a legitimate source of news in our industry -- 2/3 of all accounts are planning to go into review this year.

Two thirds!

I hope you've spent some time with your kids because you won't be seeing them for a while.

I hope you've taken care of all the repairs around the house because all that's going on the back burner.

I hope you've managed to get some stability in your life cause shits about to get real.

If you're a staffer it's enough to make you start Googling things like: arsenic, cyanide, high caliber pistols, and industrial grade sleeping pills. I feel your pain.

Especially if you're employed by the incumbent agency and your tone deaf management decides to mount a sturdy defense.

"We're going to retain this account. We're going to put on our smiley faces. We're going to be agreeable to all client demands. And we're going to reignite the spark that made this pain in the ass client come to our agency just 18 moths ago."

Mind you, I'm not complaining. One of the first tenets in the freelancer's handbook is, "turmoil is your friend."

And as an outsider it's quite amusing to watch an agency go through the wild machinations of trying to retain an account. When you don't have skin in the game, when you're emotionally disconnected from the daily grind, and when you're granted the privilege of being an observer, it's so much easier to see things how they actually are.

Years ago, I had a front row, courtside seat to all this mishigas.

The client had brought in a new CMO, who as all new CMO's do, initiated a lengthy, expensive and futile review. Seems that despite year-to-year double digit sales growth, a content dealer body, and a wealth of work that was some of the smartest in the automotive arena, the brand was simply not being defined to his liking.

He felt, or at the least he told us, that the agency needed to shore up the notion of Luxury. And so, week after week, presentation after presentation, we attempted to redefine Luxury.

I've been doing this a long time and can tell you, it's a fool's game. People know what luxury is and the minute they sit in the driver's seat they know, the car either has it or it doesn't. And no planner-speak or wave of the copywriter magic wand is going to change that.

Mr. New CMO would have none of that.

And so, before the account changed hands and during the last gasping breaths of the review, the agency produced this one last spot. Which, in light of all the idiocy, nonsense and unmitigated torture this one particular assnugget client inflicted on some of the best and brightest people I've had the pleasure of working with, amounts to a delicious 30-second, color-corrected, celebrity-announced Fuck You.

You want luxury? Here's luxury.

In retrospect, and even though I didn't write it, this could be my all time favorite commercial ever committed to celluloid.

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