Advertisers demand more creativity but here’s the catch

26 Jun

According to this Reuters article, clients are willing to continue their current ad expenditures if the agencies get more creative and can provide proof that their ideas will work.

To paraphrase: Do something that’s never been done before and prove to me beforehand that it will be hugely successful.

Just to make things more interesting, there’s a catch.

Larger advertisers are parcelling their business out amongst many agencies – or “suppliers” as we are now affectionately referred to. Recurring competitive pitches means loyalty is determined by who can promise the most immediate and impressive sales spike.

Business people walking around office chairs in a game of Musical ChairsSo the push from advertisers is for 1) bigger ideas 2) proof they will work and c) multiple suppliers fighting over every job.

In this frenetic game of musical boardroom chairs, where the advertiser is simply prepared to take the business where the promise of instant success is most convincingly made, who is nuturing the ongoing relationship between the audience and the brand?

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6 Responses to “Advertisers demand more creativity but here’s the catch”

  1. Jane Victoria King June 26, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Innovative forward thinking creativity would be nice. I shutter at TV spots like Wendy’s where a woman licks a sauce off a man’s face. Sorry. Doesn’t rank creative. Ranks ughhh in my books. No buy-in for me.
    This line’s important in the article given it’s scope:
    …’Eccleshare said marketing directors were inevitably under pressure to prove the importance of advertising at a time when doubts linger over the economic recovery, particularly in the United States, given the size of its deficit, and in western Europe….’
    Encouraging to hear if budgets aren’t being cut and there is the belief out there advertising works to sell yet your question who’s nurturing the relationship between the audience and the brand?
    Isn’t that the full-time job of the agency…

  2. Doug Brown June 26, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Great comment Jane. I think most advertisers believe in marketing, the question is how you go about it. To your last point: it is the full-time job of the agency, but which agency? The one that’s been contracted to do jobs 1 &7? The one doing jobs 3, 4 and 5? The one doing your website and digital initiatives or the gang in-charge of your graphic standards? It’s divide and conquer and no one is tasked with being the brand police except the client…and they’re too close to it.

  3. Jane Victoria King June 26, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    Interesting. The ring of the “Full Service Agency” has fallen by the wayside. Clients should be sold on full service – how else can you integrate the right strategy?
    But an agency having all of that expertise… not sure of the landscape these days. Given my agency experience was 1984-88 in T.O. at Y&R.
    The client and the agency really need to be in bed together. How else can it work in today’s fickle, fast-paced, evolving and extremely economically driven market?
    A lot of educating of a client to what the agency can do.
    Back in the day we called that the Martini lunch.
    My two cents…

  4. Doug Brown June 27, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Ah yes, the good old days of the 80’s. And that wasn’t a single Martini either. But fast forward 20+ years and you have the age of specialization. Where once businesses could sift through a total of a dozen ad agencies in a city to meet their marketing needs, now there are hundreds – literally, most of them small and specialists. The best SEO talents at major agencies break off and go it alone, taking that part of the business with them. Digital-only shops pop up everywhere. The diminishment in the importance of geographic proximity means clients are searching the globe for creative and strategic services. Outsourcing, crowd-sourcing. The list goes on.

    But in my opinion, and it comes back to the final paragraph of the post, who is minding the shop with all these diverse talents now involved. Who is making sure that the carefully articulated brand strategy is being consistent and consistently brilliant? I think Jane, this is where an agency of record role is essential. Still.

  5. KELLETT June 27, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Reminds me of Steve Buscemi’s line from Armegeddon. To paraphrase, hurtling into space at break neck speed on a tin can built by the lowest bidder. Sounds a bit like advertising doesn’t it.

  6. Doug Brown June 27, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Nobody every got rich by making it a habit to take the cheapest advice available and then demanding the advice be proved sagacious before being acted upon. Buckle up and see you in outer space Bill!

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