Walkin’ The Line

There are a lot of interesting points (and comment counterpoints) in this post at The Daily (Ad) Biz, talking about “below-the-line” agencies attempting to cross over. Here’s a snippet:

It seems that every company with a Photoshop license seems to think that they are an ad agency…like this partner agency that I am working with. They are a below-the-line/brochure shop and every time they present new creative, they always seem to have somehow slipped a brand ad into their presentation.
Weird.
Of course, they say that it’s only “to illustrate the holistic nature of the idea” but we all know what they are really trying to do. They’re trying to broaden their scope of work. They’re trying to win some of our business.
They’re so bad at actual advertising that they don’t stand a chance.
Agencies of the world, hear me now – below-the-line, SEO, brochures, PR, promotions, etc and so on are an important part of the marketing mix but you’re in no way capable of doing the heavy lifting of brand building. Most traditional below-the-line is product selling, not brand building. And that’s cool, products do need to be sold last I checked…it’s just doesn’t really prepare you to do this advertising thing.
It’s harder than it looks.

Few agencies do everything well–above, below, through, crossing the line, whatever. And, expanding on what I said in my recent Talent Zoo column, many agencies simply aren’t hiring people who can do lots of things well.
It’s painfully obvious when an agency tries to do a piece of work that’s clearly out of its league. It usually shows.

About Dan Goldgeier

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. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.