Can You Relate?

One of the things that drew me to advertising in the first place was the ridiculously naïve idea that the business was a meritocracy. “The work is all that matters,” was the mantra I gleefully chimed in the mid 1990s. I picked it up from some true believers and even with all the turmoil my career has seen, I have clung to it mightily. But I’m confident I’ll get over it someday.

Adweek: Volkswagen’s sweeping shift last week of its estimated $400 million North American creative account to Crispin Porter + Bogusky without a review illustrates what some say is the smartest, most efficient way to hire an agency. And it reinforces once again the notion that advertising, rather than being “all about the work,” as some say, is first and foremost a relationship-driven business.

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. Though I feel that Crispin is overrated, their automotive work with Mini is stellar. And they’ll probably do equally excellent with Volkswagen.
    Advertising is a relationship and an idea business.
    I know everyone always says “the work, the work, the work” is most important in the ad business. But good, productive relationships with mutual trust are what makes that stellar work come into being.
    of course, there’s also the cases where an agency gets a client solely because the marketing manager is buddy-buddy with an agency principal. but hey, life isn’t always fair.

  2. True ‘dat. True.