Over the past few years, some large advertisers have decided that the best way to get good ads is to have a roster of agencies and make them compete for assignments. Now smaller advertisers are starting to do this.
It's a perfectly brilliant way to get lousy advertising, but a lovely way for narcissistic marketing executives to get agencies to kiss their asses.
Anyone who's spent 15 minutes in an ad agency knows that good creative people want nothing to do with clients who don't respect them. They'll take a shot at one of these circle jerks and if they don't win, phone it in the next time around.
Clients who don't know the psychology of ad agencies think that by getting agency account managers all worked up over competition they'll get the agency working extra hard. They get the opposite. The creatives laugh at the hysterical management people, do some perfunctory work, and spend their real time on real assignments that will actually get produced.
Marketing managers would do themselves a favor by remembering that the only value they get from an ad agency is imagination -- imaginative strategies and imaginative campaigns. When you turn off the people with imagination, you lose big time.
On the other hand, nothing motivates high-quality people more than a sense of personal responsibility. Turn that on and you win.
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