The Point Of No Return

Lewis Lazare of the Sun Times simply can’t get cozy with the idea of a direct marketing hustler like Howard Draft sitting pretty atop venerable FCB. But that’s the state of affairs today. DraftFCB’s Chicago office has a staff of 1100, making it the city’s largest shop.
But size is not what’s bothering Lazare. Like any aesthete, he’s concerned with commerce’s grubby hands encroaching on the arts, in this case the lost art of advertising.

First, the new DraftFCB has taken on a new tag line of sorts: “Return on Ideas.” Sounds kind of clever, but it really suggests this is an agency focused on a sobering and newly in-vogue aspect of the advertising industry, namely “accountability.” That term pops up in what may be the single most telling comment in the eight-page document: “Ultimately we see DraftFCB as an organization where creativity will supersede everything but accountability.”

How like a tweed-clad gentleman in an ivy tower is the position of advertising columnist.

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. actually, lazare has been known to don tweed jackets and bow ties, in addition to slicking his hair back ala pat riley circa 1980s.
    somebody call queer eye pronto.

  2. Lazare often writes things that are off-base (or off the wall). Still, we could use more people who defend creativity with as much gusto as they do “accountability”. I’m sure Draft FCB’s “It’s Crumbelievable!” spot sold lots of Kraft cheese. But it’s also the butt of jokes, including several mockings on TV. As much as clients want good numbers, they also want work they can brag about to peers and neighbors. I’ve had numerous clients say as much.
    For years FCB has sought a positive positioning for it’s creative output. One attempt was “creativity that works”. “Return On Ideas” isn’t much different – another way to angle against agencies with more stellar creative records. It’s one part business plan, one part excuse. Smart, considering the marketplace, but also convenient, given the work – although I give credit to the Dow spots someone there wrote.