Smock v. Fenske: Front Row Tix Still Available

Mike Smock is a marketing strategist with more than 500 marketing campaigns executed in 38 industries over a 25 year career. Therefore, he is taken aback by Mark Fenske’s claim that “nobody ever created a good ad writing to a strategy.”

I don’t get this. I never will get this. I am proud of the fact I don’t get it. Look, advertising is not art. Advertising is weaponry in a battle for market share. If creativity helps me gain more share fine. If not then it is wasted sword motion. If you want to create art, if you want to be an artiste then get out of advertising and go be an artist. Write a screenplay, write a novel, go make another award winning music video but get the fuck out of advertising. God forbid if you work for me and try to create an ad without the strategy.

As we mentioned yesterday, Fenske is leaving VCU’s Adcenter to rejoin Wieden + Kennedy on the agency’s Coca-Cola account. Here’s some of his wisdom:

There’s not that much difference between a creative person at Wieden + Kennedy and one at Ayer.
Many people assume that a creative at one of the great agencies is an entirely different species from the people who work at the big flat-footed dinosaur agencies. I’ve been in both places. There’s not that much difference in the way people think. People working at great agencies would love to believe they’re just better than those other people. And unfortunately, too many younger people at big bad agencies do believe they aren’t made of the same stuff people at Wieden and Goodby are. Crap. If you compared the thought processes, the avenues explored, the wild notions, the actual pieces of paper written on by creatives at big agencies with those of creatives at “creative” agencies, the similarities would be scary. The real difference is, when the big agency creatives have those interesting thoughts and ideas, they put them aside. They don’t have support for them, or the culture to grow them, or the opportunity to fight for them, or the clients who’d buy them. They have no ground for their good ideas to mature in, so the confidence that comes from having your work praised never grows in them.

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. In order to both celebrate and critique the industry, I started AdPulp in Chicago in 2004. In 2006, I launched and led an agency content department at BFG. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.