Big News Flash: Agency/Client Relationships Still Have Problems

The New York Times serves up this big scoop today.
Actually, the NYT story summarizes a new report from Salz Consulting in New York.

“This has not been a great year,” said Nancy L. Salz, president of Nancy L. Salz Consulting in New York, which has sponsored the Salz Survey of Advertiser-Agency Relations since 1986.
“A lot of the major indicators are down and it’s a struggle to get them to improve,” she said.
The results “are a real reflection that the industry is in a huge state of flux,” Ms. Salz said, as advertisers and agencies scramble to keep up with the seemingly continuous changes in consumer behavior, media choices and categories ranging from automobiles to packaged foods to telecommunications.
Even so, “as different as things are becoming,” Ms. Salz said, “this is still about an old-fashioned concept, people communicating with people.” And “there’s still a huge opportunity to improve sales just by working better together,” she said.

It’s probably an interesting report, but from the Times’ summary, it seems laden with statistics that you’d have to take with a grain of salt. Here’s what the report probably doesn’t mention:
Most agencies don’t trust their clients and vice versa. Agencies (and their creatives) are always angling for ways to do high-visibility, self-serving, award-winning work to get the attention of the ad industry. Clients always try to get the most out of their agency for as little money as possible. Most clients have no idea who’s doing the day-to-day work on their account. Most agencies generally loathe the idea of presenting work over and over again up the client’s chain of command to get approval. Most agencies don’t undertand their client’s business or industry. Most clients don’t understand the subjective nature of creativity.
There. I just gave you that analysis for free. What do y’all think? Feel free to add your own state-of-the-relationship tidbits.

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 and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.