Branding Is For Brands

There’s a certain abandon to Steffan Postaer’s writing. I like that, especially since it’s coming from deep inside the machine.
Today, the creative leader of Euro RSCG/Chicago, takes on agency mission statements and self-promo exercises. Thankfully, he does so with abandon.

Are we about ideas, client service, publicity or all of the above? In every creds piece (including ours), is some permutation of “building brands over time while selling product right away.”
Blah, blah, blah.
I need to call bullshit. With the possible exception of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, there are no agency brands. Not really. The venerable Carl Ally once said, “Clients make great agencies, not vice-versa.” More than a treatise about greatness, his statement suggests that an advertising agency is defined by its brands. For example Wieden & Kennedy is Nike. Its greatness is their greatness.

In other words, agencies needn’t bother with their own brand. Rather they need to obsess about their clients’ brands. Because agencies are their clients’ brands, for better or worse. Really makes you want to pick your clients carefully, does it not?



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.