In June , Fortune (subscription required) ran a long copy piece on the state of the ad business. In this piece, Donny Deutsch comes out looking rather noble. So, while I’ve had fun making fun of The Donny in this space, today is Be Nice To The Donny Day.
On the shifting media landscape:
Unlike a lot of his peers, Deutsch doesn’t mince words when he talks about what has happened to Madison Avenue. He says consolidation has come with a price. “A lot of the great independent spirit that has driven this industry has gone by the wayside,” he says. He lashes out at his fellow agency chiefs for allowing clients to treat them like widget vendors. He fumes about media buyers who claim they understand the business better than their creative peers. “That’s all bullshit,” Deutsch says.
Some procurement people are squeezing their ad agencies in ways that their marketing department associates never would have dared. Agencies have tried standing up to their clients’ procurement departments, without much success. Donny Deutsch severed his ties with Pfizer after a dispute over how much the agency was billing the chemical company for salaries. Deutsch says his former client wanted him to reveal how much he was paying individual employees. “If agencies just refused, we could stop this,” Deutsch says. “Yet agency people go, ‘Okay, okay.’ Then they can’t figure out why they’re down to a tiny margin business. It’s this ridiculous cycle.”