Friday, May 22, 2020

Out is the new in.

Since I’ve been a free agent and since I no longer have advertising colleagues, I now have a raft of ex-colleagues. 

When I have an especially good day, I hear from a couple of them. Lately, I’ve been having great days—I’ve been hearing from many of them.

Like me, many of them have been, lately, shit-canned, downsized, schmised, fired. And like me, all of them have gone through the same Kubler-Rossian stages post- dismissal.
1.  What am I going to do? Will I ever work again?
On the heels of that,
2. Those mofos, I’d like to sue their candy-asses.
Followed by,
3. Naw. Let’s move on. I have a good portfolio, a good  reputation and a good network.
Then, two bad days,
4. I’m never going to work again.
Followed by,
5. I’m getting more offers than I know what to do with and more work, too.
And then,
6. Getting canned is the best thing that ever happened to my career. I am making two or three times the money I was. And I feel liberated. For too long I was doing the work someone not as good as I was demanding. Now I am doing work I like, my way.
They kept me in a box and, like Procrustes, cut of my soul so I fit in it. I am free now.
Not too many minutes ago, I returned from a two-mile walk to and back home from the beach with Whiskey, my eight-year-old golden retriever. We played on the beach; I threw her duck decoy into the sea and she swam and fetched it.
When I returned home, a link to an article was in my email box. You can read the entire thing here.

I don’t know Michael Farmer—the man featured in the article—but he seems to have a pretty good read from a macro point of view about what’s happening in what was once my industry.
The thing I liked most about Farmer’s words is that they’re predicated on something that, to my mind, has vanished or been banished from our industry. It seems to me that most of Holding Company “leadership” and Agency upper management, no longer truly value the work we do.
The notion that we produce work that is plentiful, small, cheap and always-on has led to a tremendous retrenchment in our business. We no longer believe our work is influential and important and can make clients rich.
We sell ubiquity. Not effectiveness.
We used to believe, “We make brands matter.”
Now we believe, “We make brands ever-present.”
Ubiquity is not a cardinal virtue. In fact, if you listened to consumers, i.e. people, they'd probably say they resent the inundation. 
[There don't seem to be accurate stats on how many ads the average person is exposed to--or even what exposure means. But in 2007, the New York Times reported, "Yankelovich, a market research firm, estimates that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 today. About half the 4,110 people surveyed last spring (in 2006) by Yankelovich said they thought marketing and advertising today was out of control. Today, some 'experts' claim we see 10,000 ads a day--if you sleep seven hours a day, that's one ad every six seconds.]
In advertising, we don't win with ubiquity--or even repetition. We win by imparting useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way. Make ads that get attention and persuade people to do something or think something.
Here’s the bit from Michael Farmer that got me nodding with some vigor:
“Farmer notes that advertising can be great, fast, or cheap, but advertisers want all three. ‘This is what advertisers ask for, and this is what agencies try to deliver. But just as all this pressure mounts…agencies are cutting costs, largely by shedding as many senior executives' salaries as possible.
“Agencies are understaffed at a time when clients have never had bigger marketing problems than they have todayThis creates a domino effect, where agencies need to be prioritizing their highest-value work, but the biggest cuts were made to the talent best equipped to manage that output.”
That synopsis seems about right to me.
If it seems right to you, call me.
I won't tell you my day-rate here. 

But you know it's high. After all, you appreciate the value I deliver.

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