ROI: Advertising’s Dirty Four-Letter Word

If you work in an ad agency today, you’re pressed by clients demanding accountability. But just because someone’s got numbers, does that mean they rule the roost?

We have access to more data, more statistics, more slicing and dicing of numbers and tactics than ever. And has advertising gotten any better through the years? Hardly. Has the creative work improved? Nope. Less wasteful? Occasionally. Is it still mostly wasted money? Absolutely.
But you will never, ever hear an agency exec get up in a presentation and say, “We don’t know if this’ll work. They won’t even say, “Well, we think it’s gonna work.” They’ll say, “It will work.” Every proposed campaign is a can’t miss. The producers of ‘Ishtar’ probably felt the same way.

It’s the subject of my new column on



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.