Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Advertising Mine Disaster.

The New York Times, with oddly misplaced naivete asks today "Why, after such a long history of injury and death, does coal mining remain so dangerous?"

You don't have to be Albert Schweitzer to figure that one out now, do you?

You take an inherently dangerous industry with a history of having local if not national governments in its thrall and let it do its thing with little or no regulation and what do you think will happen?

Management will attempt, naturally, to get more work done for less money. Safety concerns will fall by the wayside. Whistle-blowers will be beaten around the head with newspaper-wrapped lead pipes and then fired. Consequentially, methane gas will asphyxiate some, cave-ins will maul others and black lung and other ailments will claim still more.

In short, coal mining remains so dangerous because we are pushing every bit of cost out of the system.

Advertising, of course, operates in a similar if not quite so lethal fashion. Agencies and their holding companies are in the process of driving every last cent of cost out of the system.

So, downtime is eliminated.
Salaries are cut.
Senior people (costly) are canned and their knowledge, experience and know-how goes with them.
Disciplines and strictures that shore up agencies are weakened.
Gas and coal dust (mediocrity) start filling up miners' lungs (agency employees.)
Mediocrity begets account losses which begets more cuts.

Cave-in. Disaster.


Anonymous said...

Now I'm paranoid that my agency's roof deck is going to crash down on my head I write this mediocre campaign.

george tannenbaum said...

Roof deck?

Anonymous said...

This is endemic to most industries, isn't it. Squeezing what you can out of as few people as possible while spending as little as possible? How about those airline pilots? Outsourcing. Downsizing. Rightsizing. "Making do with less" while those at the top seem to take home more. The results of this sort of Dickensian bullshit are just better illustrated by businesses built on blue-collar labor -- where people are more likely to be hurt or killed.