October 05, 2007

Dull Men in Grey Suits

A piece called "Why Have Admen Lost Their Mojo?" in The New York Observer asks where have all the visionaries and scoundrels gone?

The writer has a lot to say, but most of it is off target. The reason there are so few big personalities left in advertising is that advertising has been homogenized into submission by consolidation, globalization and corporatization.

The ad business used to be an industry of entrepreneurs. Now it's in the hands of a few lawyers, accountants and other publically traded dull men in grey suits.

A couple of decades ago Y&R had the largest share of the ad market in the US at a little over 1%. Today four global holding companies control about 75% of U.S. ad dollars. Along with this consolidation of dollars has come a consolidation of thinking. In our opinion, these guys all sound alike, look alike, and smell alike. They spout the same clich├ęs and dreadful jargon. Here is an actual press release from one such global agency. I've changed the names to protect the innocent:

"Mr. A will report to Mr. B, executive creative director of ________, who said Mr. A “represents a new generation of creative visionaries who are able to bring the total brand experience to the development of integrated creative solutions."


How can people who write idiotic nonsense like this be interesting? Or create comprehensible ads? Right, they can’t.

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