Tuesday, April 9, 2024

There's Something Happening Here.

What it is, ain't exactly clear.

And that lack of clear-ness isn't fine.
Especially since it's by absolute design.

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I spent the first 55 years of my 66 years on our dying pale blue dot hearing the word "transparency" only in reference to windows and cellophane. 

Now I hear it all the time. 

It's about the highest praise a company, a charlatan or a politician can say about themselves. My rule of sagacious thumb says the more a person or a social organization or an enterprise uses the word transparency, the more likely it is that they're being deceptive--either by omission or commission, or most usually both.

If you're honest, you don't have to use clich├ęs like transparent.

And if you're honest, you don't have to spend public relations dollars proclaiming your honesty. And if you're honest, you have a set of measures--measures that don't blow with the wind, that stay the same year after year--by which your honesty can be judged and evaluated.

If these measures are true, quantifiable and invariable, they should speak to your honesty.

For instance, take Volkswagen and their diesel deception. If they had a measure that said "this much fuel at this speed gives off this many parts per million," and this calculus is bona fide and verified, their lying would not have happened. Same with Boeing. This is how we build a plane. These are the safety checks. This is what we do, have always done and how we measure it, their best-selling plane would not be like a 19th Century mine disaster. A cave-in waiting to happen.

Instead, we prevaricate. Re-pre-varicate. And Repeat-varicate. We're the lies and the lying liars who lie there.

No longer does the ad industry, for instance, demand and publish verification of the ad industry or individual agencies. 

Back when I was young, various publications which reported on the industry would rank various agencies by billings or revenue.
Their charts looked something like this:


Often, you could go through the trades and even find out how many employees an agency had.

All that data has vaporized now.

And though we're told repeatedly how vital data is to marketing, no one ever remarks on how vital it is to honesty.

I keep banging a drum that over the last seven years--since 2017--WPP (which was then the biggest of the holding companies) employed over 200,000 people. Today, they employ fewer than 105,000. In other words, they're 45-percent smaller than they were a short while ago. 

Hardly an endorsement of a "creative transformation company."

Sundry agencies of the year, I believe, over the last few years have actually won that (bogus) award while hemorrhaging people, clients and revenue. My understanding is that DDB, at least in New York, is perilously close to being a non-entity. They've gone through CCOs and CEOs like Marjorie Taylor-Greene goes through Tide Pods on Halloween. 

I don't know how many people they employ, what accounts they have, what clients they work for or what real work they produce. I'd bet they're New York office is smaller than that of GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company. But...


An industry without honesty is like a skyscraper without foundation or a solid superstructure.

The industry heralds awards and success, yet when you turn on the TV 91-percent of all commercials seem to be shot non-union on an iPhone and 98-percent of them are baffling or insulting.

That's what it takes to succeed these days.

Our entire industry these days reminds me of this dialogue by Dashiell Hammett in The Maltese Falcon as directed by John Huston.






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