The Vanity of Advertising


I think the Industry often does clients a disservice by not focusing on Sales. Yet at the same time patting each other on the back for great work that can not be proven has benefited the clients who paid for the work.

Glaring proof is the ridiculous number of Awards events. I know Advertising and Media is highly segmented due to mediums, formats, and technologies. But I have never once seen an award connected to sales. Shouldn’t all awards for the most part be connected to either sales or customer retention.

And shouldn’t the winners of all awards events be based not on the creative or the quality of work but the sales increase? If I helped a client increase sales 100% and someone else who wins an award can’t prove they helped make a dime, doesn’t that confuse our clients? Doesn’t that do a disservice to our industry as a whole and have people view us as scammers?

In direct sales no awards are won unless you sell. And the ones who sell the most get the awards. And yes…THEY GET PAID MORE! And this whole issue of not wanting to be paid for performance because of the ‘risk’ and ‘investment’ is a crock of shit. I say that because businesses hire and train and support direct sales efforts risking much more money than advertising does with the same risks! Agencies should not be guaranteed a profit, but should have all their costs covered that includes the employee rate and everyone’s pay. And if you are afraid you won’t perform then that is the Agencies fault, not the demanding client. You don’t have to take the work. Or if the Brand (see tomorrows post) sets you up to fail that is the Agencies fault too for being a sell out for some money.

Remember 9 out of 10 products fail in the marketplace. Do Brands stop product development because they know 9 will be failures? So for an Agency to demand always a profit is pretty damn vain.

My next post will discuss the Agency Bidding and Review process because its only fair I hold the Brands to account for their shortcomings.

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About chiefalien

Howie Goldfarb with 20 years of Sales and Marketing experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive. His Degree in Finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies gives him a CFO’s view of marketing. Thus bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic, Howie relishes his role as an industry outsider. A native New Yorker and former Angelino, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are living life, art, music, the outdoors, he tries to cook and loves the Vermont Fresh Network – local sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.
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2 Responses to The Vanity of Advertising

  1. You didn't lie you came to see my rants!!!And you are correct as always. I think its important that the industry polices itself. Because Mullen does great work creatively AND you bring in sales. And you should be recognized for it. But then you are…with great clients!

  2. Awards are a bane and an asset. They mask the real purpose of the work, but if you believe that a great creative idea is worth more than money when it comes to getting attention and buzz, then you need it more than anything. The problem comes when people create ideas for no other reason than to win awards, rather than do award winning work for the purpose of building a client's business. As you no doubt saw, there was fake work thrown out of Cannes this year. As there always is. On the other hand, great stuff like Nike Chalkbot accomplishes both.

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