A blog by a client about marketing and ad agencies. This is the stuff what agencies wish they knew about what they reckon they know about but don't not know nothing. Yeah...I think that makes sense.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Agency management, part 1. What is it, what does it do and why do you pay for it?
Many of you, my fellow marketing professionals, work with advertising agencies. I think we can all agree on that.
Many of you may also know that nobody has worked with more advertising agencies than me. I've been through them all at least twice, sometimes more. (The reasons for this are many and varied but the common thread through them all is that I'm better at their job than they are and they don't fucking like it.)
Despite that great, groaning wealth of experience, there are still some things about agencies I can't figure out. This stuff and this stuff, for example.
Agency management, however, I have well and truly sussed right out. I'm on those fuckers like Sherlock Holmes on a dead prostitute. Or a mutant dog. (Or a ne'er-do-well with a gorblimey flat cap or whatever - you get the fucking picture.)
You may have looked at your agency's website and clicked on the 'Who are we?' section and seen the various bigwigs glowering at the camera with a mix of studied ennui and ball-wilting arrogance. And you may have thought 'They look like they know what they're doing. I trust my account with them. That one went to Oxford!'
Well, let me take those those assumptions and put them on a raging bonfire to be brutally ravaged by the flames for forty days and forty nights. Then let me curl a large, elegant turd over the ashes. Then let me take a hefty sledge hammer and smash the lot into a kind paste. Then let me put the ashes-of-assumptions-and-shit paste onto the back of a truck and parade it through the streets. Then let me piss on that parade from the top of the highest building. In short, let me piss on your Ashes-of-Assumptions-and-Shit-Paste Parade.
Looking back at that paragraph, I think I might have lost my way. Anyhow, here's what really happens.
When agency people get into board-level management it means one thing above all others: IT'S TIME TO STOP WORKING.
That's right. Agency management isn't about doing the job you did before you became management but on a bigger scale. It's about these things:
Stinging your clients for more loot
It's amazing how quickly an agency person goes from 'We want to make the best work for our clients' to 'We want to make the most money possible from our clients'. In fact, it takes exactly the same time as it takes to say 'You're promoted to the board!' Making you spend more money becomes their only reason to get up in the morning. That, and escaping their crumbling marriage.
Spending that loot on nice things
The board of an agency MUST have nice things. It is expected. Desks must be special. Office chairs must be unique. Pens must be treasured sentimental artifacts. Offices must be broad and lush with fine carpet. Cars must be ferociously sporty. Skin, teeth and nails must have the burnished hum of the frequent flyer. It is expected.
Being the voice of the industry
Once ascended to the board, the agency grandee should not trifle with the tedious accounts of their clients. More important are his or her (but, let's be honest, probably his) views, insights, pronouncements and predictions on the issues facing the advertising, marketing and communications industries. They will sit on awards panels, on advisory panels, on discussion panels, on events panels, on thinktank panels, on debating panels, on research panels. There will be more panels than the oak-panelled boardroom at PanelCo Global Panelling Ltd. They will drink from the fountain of sparkling water and chablis. And then they will, without as much as a single tear of regret, CHARGE IT TO YOUR COCKING ACCOUNT!
Oh, yes. Yes, my friends. Stare into the abyss. Stare down there, even though it chills you to the very bone, even though it stirs in you the most primal fear, even though it brutalises any shred of hope you had for the goodness of mankind. Stare into it, my fellow marketing professionals, and realise THEY ARE FUCKING YOU LIKE A 15-QUID HOOKER.
I have only one question for these soulless jackals: where do I fucking sign?
That said, I wouldn't swap. Because all that stuff goes out of the window when you say the words 'Agency review'. Then they're back to kissing hoop like an account exec in their first chemistry meeting. And that's the way I like it!
There are millions of blogs by ad agency boys. But there's nothing that tells the story from the client side - and that's the important side! (You'll get used to my mad sense of humour - everyone says I'm dead funny, especially the agency boys!)
So, seeing as how if you want something doing right you have to do it yourself (that's what I tell the agency boys when I'm fixing one of their ads for them) I thought I'd be the client who does it.
I'm the Marketing Director of a big company. I can't say who. But if I say we're number 2 in the European consumer durables market relating to, or directly involving, cleaning clothes and or soft furnishings and or other fabrics, with a commitment to excellence, quality and placing superior cleaning at the core of our customers' product experience, I think you'll suss. Yes - that's us!
I like BMW motor cars, Manchester United (yes, I'm from London - deal with it!) and forming successful business strategies that deliver optimum profitability and customer delight.