Spy vs. Spy

28 Sep

I find that the traditional rivalries within ad agencies are starting to disappear. When I got into the biz in 1986, there was a creative department and there was an account servicing department.560953-spy_vs_spy_large

(Of course there was media, accounting and production, but they weren’t the Big Two.)

The stronger of these defined the agency in the eyes of the market. You were either a creative shop or a suit-driven shop. There was a lot of dynamic tension between these departments. The distrust was intense. We plotted against each other, set traps, hooted at our petty triumphs. The alcohol didn’t help much of course.

In 2009, the ideal candidate for an account coordinator’s job can write some decent copy. We just hired that guy.

The perfect art director can flick his flinty opinions around during strategy sessions. And deal directly with the client, open jobs, estimate and set a timeline. We have three of those.

The account manager can throw an eye-popping media plan together, the media executive can project manage a campaign or lead a strategic brainstorm.

It’s all about cross-over skills. Our talents are being liquefied by the speed of the business.  This would have been unheard of during the cloak and dagger days.

By the way, our accounting manager also bakes a mean chocolate cake. Not lately though. I’m hoping she reads this.


5 Responses to “Spy vs. Spy”

  1. Trevor Sellars September 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Ah – the new facts-of-agency-life eh Doug? I’m a 1976 starter guy. Today its really the best thing about our smaller agencies (likes ours at 15 people) where the right people in the right teams share the right thinking without silos getting in the way. Clients are impressed too with the transparency that results in this environment – frank discussions with a team of thinkers is very attractive to the right clients.

  2. dougbrowncreative September 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    We are all creative problems solvers and a great idea can come from anyone of us. Thanks for the comment Trevor.

  3. John "Spirits" Sioui September 30, 2009 at 6:54 am #

    Hey Doug,

    If I were you I’d send the Spy vs. Spy material to the folks at MADMEN. You may want to include some “hot chicks”. Call Palmer, he could contribute some juicy highlights from the 60’s and 70’s, or, am I bordering on censorship issues?

  4. dougbrowncreative September 30, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    No such thing as censorship on this blog John! But I’m not sure how happy Frank Palmer will be to be dated to the biz in the 60’s…
    …and thanks again for the cake Rose.

  5. Lindy Philip December 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    Glad to see that Production Managers can still make an appearance every now and then in these days with smaller agencies.! I am 80’s gurl all the way!

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