July 29, 2013

Advertising Industry Gives Up

I would like to be all outraged and upset by the announcement that Omnicom and Publicis are merging. But I can't. It is just the advertising industry's way of telling us that it has joined the parade.

As in so many other fields, the ad industry has discovered that it is way more profitable to provide a mediocre product to a lot of people than a high quality product to a few.

Just look at the airline industry, the banking industry, the telecom industry, the fast food industry. They provide mediocre products to massive markets. It's what huge companies do. It's what markets demand.

If you're a lazy, aristocratic CMO of a global corporation do you want to go out and find the best creative agency in Indonesia? The best digital agency in Korea? The best media agency in Argentina? Are you fucking kidding? That takes work.

Hire a worldwide bullshit factory and let some account director worry about it. You have powerpoints to prepare and conferences to address and, soon, football games to attend.

The boys in the management suite will applaud your wisdom for hiring one entity that can "do it all" (yeah, right) and "save you money" (yeah, right) at the same time.

Hiring OmniPub (or whatever dreadful name they've come up with) turns laziness into a virtue, and stupidity into foresight.

It is the perfect solution for the emptiness of our time. 

The newspaper articles, the business magazines, the TV pundits, and the bloggers will all be busy reporting on how this will affect the clients of this new agency, and what the profit picture is for Wall Street, and which big shots will get new offices and which ones will get walking papers.

No one will report on the important stuff. No one will talk to the rank and file who work for these monkeys and can tell us the truth about how corrupt, disjointed, unmanageable, and feckless they already are -- before they double in size.

But you know what? Nobody gives a shit.

No one is willing to spend for quality. No one wants to pay for service. No one cares to work very hard.

So let's give the suckers what they want and be done with it.


Kumara S Raghavendra said...

Its not just about being lazy. Its also about taking a gamble. If the CMO does go out and find a good creative agency, and the end product delivered by them doesn't make the desired impact, the CMO will have his neck on the line for choosing some agency that is not a biggie like OmniPub (or whatever). The CMO just wants to be able to say 'I hired the biggest agency, and if they screwed up, there's nobody better I could have chosen."

steakandcheese said...

Sigh. Bigger doesn't equal better. Only in the heads of the guys with 6 figure bank accounts.

Peter Van Skirl said...

I gave up giving a shit ages ago. Now I just do it for the cash. Of which they still give me quite a lot.
Nowadays I just pretend to care. Then, when no one's looking, I laugh.

Cecil B. DeMille said...

I've been noticing a trend in the opposite direction. The big conglomerates, as you say, produce shit work and take forever to do it. Smaller, more responsive agencies have an opportunity.

Pitching work is damn expensive, but most large accounts use a variety of agencies. Yes, many of them are with holding companies, but a few are independents who managed to snag a piece of the business – often because the big agency doesn't want it.

And the smaller agencies begin to grow that business. Instead of spending $100 billion pitching AOR business they could never get, they take the $2 million piece of the direct marketing account. And then, when the giant agency fucks up (and it will), the smaller agency takes a bigger bite.

These holding company dumbasses don't care about little bites. As long as they are raking in the dough. The opportunity is there, though, for small, hardworking firms with good account people and excellent creative to absolutely show up a bigger agency. I see it happen often. There is still hope. Just not with Inter Omni Public Com.

Cecil B. DeMille said...

As I side note, I'd like to acknowledge that the creatives in the holding company agencies can do great work, but are often hamstrung by the lack of support from the top. Been there. It sucks.

Rory@Rocket said...

Thanks for this perspective!

Brian Jacobs said...

Being an optimist I like to think we've reached a turning point. PubOm has won the scale game. Hurrah for them. Now it's time to change the game back towards creative thinking. There will in the months and years to come be many hacked-off people leaving the new entity and setting up independent agencies focussed on clients and on great creativity - in media as well as in advertising. Many will be supported by disillusionned clients.
Here's a link to a longer post on this topic - time to zag: http://www.bjanda.com/blog/time-to-zag-publicis-and-omnicom-merge/

Pete Van de Skirl said...

There are no disillusioned clients. They are complicit. They love mediocre adverts.

adwench said...

Did you see the NYT article? At least they let David Droga have the last word.

Tim Orr said...

To echo Kumara,"Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM."

Casper Pesky said...

Will they be called Omniclit, or Pubicom?

Brian Jacobs said...

I suspect there are going to be a fair few whose disillusionment stems from moving from being considered important to one holding company to being pretty insignificant in a merged business. Plus from having to explain to their bosses why they're now sharing an agency with their closest competitor (I know this is wrong but consider the level of knowledge of the distinction between agency v holding company in most boardrooms).
It will all take a while to play out but small pieces of business will leave on an 'experimental' basis to follow the people they know/like out of the merged business. Then it's only a matter of time before larger chunks follow.

Brian Jacobs said...

I agree - large clients can take an age to leave the agency they've been loyal to for years but if sufficiently provoked they will do so - piece by piece.

Liala Hughes said...

Something must be said...I used to work at a small agency and now I work at one of the agencies of Omnipubi or Pubiom, whatever you people are calling it. I get to be more creative and work with all sorts of different clients, sector influencers, go to interesting events and write articles, blogs and thought pieces! If you aren't getting it so far I get more creative freedom to express myself and my ideas at this big huge 'nasty' holding group than my ex- small and unattached firm. And of course we pitch for tiny pieces of work. Who doesn't?!

By the way it is Publicis - Omnicom. Think of a famous law firm like Jones Day. Two names together. Clearly none of you are in communications.