Friday, May 31, 2013

Advertising, cosmetics and veal.

One of the major issues of the modern agency is that we are no longer sure of what it is we are selling. Or perhaps more accurately, we sell so many things, so many often-competing channels that   too often agency agendas prevail rather than what's right for the client.

Here's what I mean:

We have app-makers who believe apps should rule the roost.

We have website builders who believe websites are pre-eminent.

We have traditional people who prattle on about the efficacy of tv.

We have half a dozen other 'specialists' who froth at the mouth about the viability of their specialty.

All these people, all these designers, community managers, social media mavens, branding experts et al have their own bottom lines to promote and protect. Everyone is fighting--eternally and internally fighting--over every client dollar.

Too often, the client is victim of this fighting. They're sold work that advances the agency ball--often at the client's own expense.

I suppose it's all a little bit like Bloomingdale's cosmetics floor. It's made up of "shops" of literally dozens and dozens of cosmetics makers, all competing against each other. As a consumer you are spritzed and sprayed and begged and beckoned to stop at this counter or that, each counter purring about their own secret formulae.

No one is in charge there.

The Lancomes, Cliniques, Chanels and others are all in their own eyes the best.

This is what life is like in an "integrated" agency.

The internal competition is no longer between creative teams (which probably led to better work) it's between "capabilities." It's a free-for-all. Every man for himself.

Years ago, based on my accomplishments in a variety of different media, I sought to "sell" myself to a holding company as a brand orchestrator. As an independent someone who could look at a client's marketing issues and derive an intelligent mix of media. A mix not based on "we have a lot of veal in the back, push the veal." But based on what was good for the client.

You know. I sought to sell myself as a leader.

That fell flat.

And now, nearly a decade later, I see the need for such leadership is greater than ever.

But it's nowhere to be found.

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