May 29, 2013
The Dull-Witted Stepchild Of Marketing
Yesterday's post about the need to rid our industry of the people who are destroying it -- Martin Sorrell and his ilk -- generated an extraordinary response among the readers of this blog.
Strangely, it also generated an unexpected response in me. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. I am not a callow idealist who thinks the advertising industry was ever charming or amiable. But we did have our virtues.
We tried to be creative. We weren't focused solely on money. We weren't as willing to shut up and go to our room.
Sadly, we have become the dull-witted stepchild of the marketing industry. We are the dummies who have to be dragged along. We are the dimwits who "don't get it."
Advertising leadership has been stolen away from us and given to data people and tech people and accountants and god knows who else. And all we can do is stand there and watch our stature diminish.
Our industry has been hijacked by dull men in grey suits. They are the leaders. We are the stragglers. When they say make a banner, we say how big?
It doesn't have to be like this. There are still great agencies who do great work. But they are being swamped by the tsunami of consolidation and homogenization.
The influence of huge organizations is always the same: People start to talk alike, then they start to act alike, then they start to think alike.
This is not healthy for the ad business nor is it healthy for the people who work in it.
We are going through a period that is dangerous for our society and dangerous for democracy. The tide of corporatization and conglomeratization is leading to the concentration of too much power in the hands of too few people.
The ad industry is just a microcosm of this. But, sadly, it is the microcosm we have to live in every day.