Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Some thoughts on AdWeek's agency report cards.

AdWeek's report card is a bit like a pre-pro book. When you get a pre-pro book, the first thing most people do is turn to the personnel section to make sure their title and place in the pecking order is correct. Vis a vis the report card, the first thing most people do is see how their agency did, and then, I suspect they check the twelve or fourteen other places they worked that are listed in the report.

With more than a trace of schadenfreude, I noticed yesterday last three "real" places at which I have most recently been employed (I won't say gainfully) have plummeted in the rankings since I left.

Introducing the Incredible Shrinking Agency.

Here's my thesis: agencies crumble because management, creative and account, prize loyalty above ingenuity. I am inherently disloyal--not in a nefarious, political, back-stabbing way, but in a way that, I believe, puts innovation and creativity above slavish dedication to direction. In other words, for better or worse, I make waves. In the parlance of Adam Morgan's "The Pirate Inside," I am a denter. I make trouble in organizations because I don't conform to the status quo. I want change.

So they make it hard for me to stay and I leave.

Now, I'm not attributing agency shrinkage to my departure alone. But I am saying this: agencies and managements that promulgate loyalty above innovation, change and creativity are doomdead.

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