Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finder, minder, grinder.

Adweek has an article about the recent disintegration of agency.com and I read it with interest. I've written a lot about the demise of traditional agencies--partly because they were the agencies I grew up with and partly because they seemed like the building blocks the industry--Madison Avenue--was built on. I started thinking about how I can't name one great or even notable campaign or ad that agency.com had done. And then I realized something.

I've always maintained that a good job should allow you a mix of "finder," "minder" and "grinder." That is a part of your job should be doing work that helps your business find awards or new business. Part of your job should be minding business--tend to the running your business or account. And part of job should be grinding it out. Rolling up your sleeves and pushing work through the system.

Then it occurred that agencies can be classified in the same manner. Some agencies do big, bold work that finds new business for clients and finds new territories. Some do a good job at managing their business. And some just grind it out--they're tonnage agencies.

Maybe this isn't a fair assessment of agency.com that they were a "grinder" agency. And I'm sure they had finder and minder aspects of their business.

But in any event, it's something to think about.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Grinder agencies are the ones staying in business. Get the shit done. That's all that matters, and guess what? The client rewards you handsomely for that. Award whore agencies are the ones that keep merging and dying, mostly because all their profits are eaten up by the award show fees. Agencies should give every new copywriter they hire a shovel.

Anonymous said...

The people who contribute to this blog don't seem to get it--you are the very same people who were running all these agencies that are now gone or are disappearing. It was on your watch that they fell apart. Don't go blaming the "new" agencies for the collapse of old style shops. If agencies are all grinders today, you people had a huge part in making that happen. For whatever reasons, you guys and gals helped enable it.

geo said...

I don't believe all agencies are grinders. Goodby isn't. R/GA isn't. Venables and Wieden aren't. BBDO isn't. Ogilvy isn't.

These companies, and others, create tremendous brand value with their work.

They find new markets for their clients. They find new customers.

There are always days, weeks, maybe even months where work feels like a grind.

The smart people in the industry are the ones who figured out how to spend 20% of their day doing good work on the 80% of work that's a grind. And 80% of their time on the 20% of work that has great potential.

That's the way forward.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous number two. I cannot agree with you. I did not run anything in advertising ever. Instead, it kept running over me. You are totally wrong, unless you are me who was writing in as anonymous earlier and I just forget what I'd written.

Anonymous said...

Here's what the "smart" people in advertising have figured out--they'll do all the fun assignments and let everyone else who has no choice in the matter (i.e., their subordinates) do all the lousy assignments.

That's what we have in advertising today--the 5% at the top are having a great time (and making all the money) while the 95% on the bottom are doing all the hard work that needs to be done but the "smart" people don't want to do it.

Is it any wonder that worker morale in this industry is as low as it is? It's probably lower than British Petroleum. Prostitutes working the Holland Tunnel probably have a higher level of job satisfaction than your average copywriter.

geo said...

I don't know last anonymous. Maybe the smart ones have figured out how to make shitty assignments good.

Anonymous said...

I'm working on a project right now, all of Doyle Dane Bernbach, circa 1962 couldn't turn this turd into a rose. You want it George?

geo said...

sure last anonymous. a day rate is a day rate.