Saturday, January 17, 2009

I hope someone is watching.

Circuit City, the big box retailer and America's second-largest consumer electronics retail chain, went out of business this week. I think in their demise there is a lesson for those of us in advertising.

In the midst (or maybe the beginning) of Depression 2.0, there will be great pressure on advertising agencies to cut costs like mad, to provide exactly what clients say they want with a minimum of added value. This is a formula that will lead to death.

In my mind it's pretty simple. If your only reason for being is that you're a low-cost provider, you're doomed. There will always be someone, somewhere that is a lower-cost provider. You, whether you're an agency, a retailer, a telco, an airline or a hooker, must do more. You must provide intelligence, judgment, guidance, honesty, service that low-cost providers simple can't proffer.

Finally, I have to believe that no one nowhere will actually miss Circuit City or any other low-cost provider. If clients or patrons won't miss what you provide when you're gone, you're screwed.

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