Ries vs. Trout: Trout 1, Ries 0

Back in the 70’s, Al Ries and Jack Trout collaborated on a book called Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind, which has been widely praised for its innovative thinking.
These days, they’ve gone their separate ways, and each has a column out this week, where you can see their divergent points of view.
Al Ries contributes to Ad Age regularly, and invariably the point of every column is “I told you so” and “If only Client X and Client Y had listened to me they wouldn’t be up shit’s creek.” His column this week is about why advertising agencies don’t advertise. He’s a little late to the party on that one: I wrote about the same thing 3 years ago.
Jack Trout, writing on Forbes.com, suggests that all is not lost in the ad industry, like Ries usually does, but suggests instead that agencies get back to strategic thinking–and do away with awards shows. It’s a very interesting perspective.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. More Troutian wisdom:
    Do away with all those creativity-awards shows, such as Cannes and Clios. Nothing does more long-term damage to the industry than making creative folks think that they are making movies and not commercials. Consider the “Curse of the Clio;” it’s widely known that a large number of Clio winners lost their accounts not too long after taking home their statuettes. All of this undermines the industry’s perceptions of being strategic in its work. It would be like lawyers having awards for creativity in trials. Agencies are supposed to be professionals helping clients solve problems and sell products. Their award should be getting to keep the account.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you and Trout more. Now a days with every new member getting into this industry, it’s not about how do I handle this problem or opportunity for the brand, Or how do I add some equity to this brand. Instead, it’s all about how to win awards and become a CD in a year or two. There’s no brand perspective at all. While some may defend saying that winning awards is a business tool to promote themselves and the agency, I don’t think that should come before the brand. We are the brand custodians. We need to be a liitle more responsible. We need to get our priorities right. Let’s not allow this awards-virus to spread.