This is the last Cog Blog of the year; Christmas, family, cooking, presents, and holiday fun all mean that I won't have time to post again until the New Year. So, it seems appropriate and timely to use my mighty platform to write to Santa. Here's hoping.
I've been in this business quite an embarrassingly long time: 50 years. That's longer than I was expecting when I started out; in fact, it's longer than I was expecting when I started this blog six years ago.
Fortunately, I like advertising. I like the people, the discussions, the passion, the different opinions, the amazing creative work, the dynamism, and the speed of change — even if speed doesn't necessarily mean progress.
Most of all, I like the agencies (creative and media, just to be clear). I want them to succeed. I want them to be in a position to do their best work, as their best work is just terrific.
But things have been going wrong.
Media agencies got greedy and arrogant, thinking they could do absolutely everything, even though they often can't.
Creative agencies got stifled, partly by their holding company owners — whose interest has always been financial (see the greedy comment) over and above the excellence of their work — and partly by clients.
Some brands have shifted from a long-term focus on creative to a short-term focus on procurement. Consider Audi doing an account review after 37 years with BBH. Even setting aside the cost of the review to BBH, what was the internal cost to Audi of a review that went nowhere? The time spent, the meetings held. The cost of pitches to clients is rarely raised or discussed, though it should be.
And what were the network media agencies doing acting in their own best interests ahead of the interests of their clients?
Given that, here's what I would like from Santa (and industry leaders) this holiday season:
Finally, Santa, it would be great if we were all a bit kinder and more generous to our fellow man in 2020 — even if we disagree. We can all listen better.
Thanks for reading the Cog Blog this year (in ever-increasing numbers) and may you have a very Happy Christmas, and a wonderful and successful 2020.
Disclosure: BJ&A has done work for the7stars andByline Times, both mentioned here.
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