Friday, January 21, 2011

The two ad industries.

There has been, in the parlance of teenagers affecting ghetto talk and hipsters affecting teenagers affecting ghetto talk, a lot of "smack" lately about goings-on at Ogilvy. They've had a few high-visibility departures and bloggers--with nothing much better to do, and those who comment on blogs, who really have nothing better to do, have latched onto these departures as evidence of Ogilvy's entropy or demise.

Last night, a friend who was my client on IBM while I was at Ogilvy, sent me links to two videos Ogilvy helped create around IBM's 100th Anniversary. This one was shot by Mr. Pytka. http://www.youtube.com/ibm#p/c/0/39jtNUGgmd4 And this by Errol Morris: http://www.youtube.com/ibm#p/c/1/XrhDaAmn5Uw

This work is compendious, big, important and moving. It captures the heart and soul of a company, evoking pride and promise. A company that's changed the way the world works. As an Ogilvy friend once said to me, "our work is meant to move the Presidents of countries, not the presidents of award shows."

Now what's happened in our industry is that the awards-industrial complex, unable to satiate their egos by doing work that's actually important, has created a set of criteria that rewards and awards the non-sensical, trivial and scurrilous to the exclusion of work that's really important.

As an industry, it seems to me we spend a lot of time gassing about what is the role for an advertising agency in modern times. Some have said agencies don't matter, that big ideas are obsolete.

Agencies, because they are outsiders and most often populated by outsiders, add value because they have a different point of view. They can be intimately involved with the inner workings of their clients but maintain a necessary distance.

Good agencies don't just tell jokes. They know and understand the workings of their clients and can articulate those workings to consumers in simple and compelling ways.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good agencies don't just tell jokes, granted.

But occasionally they should.

Because nothing is more pretentious than someone who takes themselves too serious.

Anonymous said...

Someone with a blog commenting on other people who have blogs saying they have nothing better to do. Hmmm.

geo said...

Oh, anon 2, I'll admit, I have nothing better to do.

The Ad Contrarian said...

Beautiful post, Geo.

Anonymous said...

At most agencies the "fart joke" is the pinnacle.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you George byt ogilvy is a mess. It will straighten out but Lars isn't happy w work nor are others.

tom

geo said...

Tom,
I just don't like to get into the raging and the ragging about particular agencies on this blog. There are others who do that better than I do.

Anonymous said...

Not my I tent to rag on them. the agency business is a bitch..what did Yeats say" the centre cannot hold". I would say this: that type of IBM work is exactly suited for your talents. But I'm just one of thousands of ad guys in the big city.

Tom