Before An Ad Can Be Placed, It Has To Be Created

Just about all media companies dabble in the creation of advertising. They have to, since the placement of said advertising is the lifeblood of their revenue stream, and advertisers often do not have the time, nor the inclination, to contract with a creative agency. Particularly when the media entity is offering to create the ads for free in return for the media buy.
According to The New York Times:

The Condé Nast Media Group earned almost $100 million in revenue from custom work in 2008. It has created campaigns for the department store chain Dillard’s, the vodka Grey Goose, LG Electronics and the luxury car brand Lexus, which have included in-store events, parties and television programs. All the advertising it creates must run in Condé Nast magazines and Web sites.
Richard D. Beckman, the president of the media group, said that it offered advertisers relatively cheap projects.
“Of course I’m making a profit margin on their investment in print,” Mr. Beckman said. “But everything else we provide, from creative development to events to anything, are done at the actual costs of those programs. Now that becomes very appealing for a client.”

Once upon a time, I frowned on this practice because my POV was agencies do better work, work that’s worth the investment. Now, that this is a practice AdPulp is pursuing, I see it a bit differently. We’re working on some new display ads for Talent Zoo, which we’ll provide gratis to our friends in Atlanta in thanks for their continued and loyal support.
Interestingly, Condé Nast prohibits their clients from running the ads they create in other non-Condé Nast media venues. But I don’t have a problem with that. I want AdPulp to be a valuable partner to our advertisers and that means going above and beyond what’s common or expected.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. The idea that ad agencies would do a better job creating ads was just another one of the lies we told ourselves to justify our existence.
    Certain ad agencies would likely do a better job, but you’d be hard pressed to say “most.”

  2. Stu Sutcliffe says:

    I would say most agency creative departments cannot outperform their clients. Take a team from say W&K and put them on KFC. See what the client let’s them produce. Take a team from say Draft and put them on Nike. Guarantee it will be better than anything they ever produced on KFC. Quality is less a result in a differential in creative talent than a differential in client taste and vision.

  3. Don’t completely agree with you, Stu. Yes, the clients may influence and dictate the final product. But don’t discount an agency’s ability to create and sell – the agencies that produce great work also do a great job of selling it. I’ve seen Goodby in action. I’ve seen Draftfcb in action. Two very different ways of doing business.

  4. Stu Sutcliffe says:

    Love your nom de plume Billy. I’ve been at good shops and not so bad ones as well and have seen the differences. My belief is that while the differential is there, it is not as great as the one between clients who consistently buy good work and those who don’t.
    The bad ones don’t tend to wind up at Goodby. And that’s not a coincidence. And when they do, the relationship doesn’t last very long (see Saturn). There is a lot of self determination in a client’s demand for good or bad work. It begins with the agency they choose. Nobody chooses Draft for the breakthrough work. And that is a greater determinant then the quality of creative talent at Draft.