In Defense of Ad Agencies. 


The state of the advertising agency business is dismal.  Employees are leaving in droves and there is underemployment.  Black and brown people are nowhere to be found. If you are over 50, you had better be the CEO… and even then your days are numbered. And Google has replaced thousands of agency jobs.

I work with a number of start-ups and young‘uns starting out in the business think Google Ad Words and YouTube videos explained customer acquisition are the way to successful marketing. It’s tactics-palooza out there.  Twenty something junior brand managers are doing $30k TV commercials, using friends with iPhones (FWi?) to shoot video, sans storyboards.

I’d venture to say 15% of the advertising business – the so-called Madison Avenue ad business – has moved in-house, where craft is more likely the beer near the ping pong table than the creative product.

Cranky much Steve?

Twenty years ago there was a creative revolution: 72 and Sunny, Mother, Droga 5, BBH,  Crispin Porter. Now Accenture is the biggest digital shop. And David Droga is chief idea macher or something.

I’m a strategy guy. Where my brand strategies end up is for the clients to decide.  I like to think though, that if a marketer invests in a tight brand strategy, they’re smart enough to want breathtaking creative. The best bet for great work is with an agency. Where the disciplines collide and thinkers rule the roost.  Not where an assembly line of tyros with titles and the algorithm do the work.

Rant over.