Speed, Guts and Swagger (Good Name for a New Agency)

Tom Sullivan, a principal at MDC Partners-owned shop Vitro in San Diego, thinks ad pros could learn a thing or two from political hacks. Writing in Ad Age, Sullivan argues:

The truth is that agencies and brands often miss opportunities to attack. Elections are a good reminder to agencies that drawing direct comparisons can work. For so many challenger brands, there’s value in going right after the big guy.

I keep coming back to these same concepts: speed, guts and swagger…

If your next branding campaign was win or go home, do you think you might take a few pages from the political playbook?

Speed, guts and swagger are things I associate with the best players in the NFL. And I have to admit, it’s odd to me that ad people would need this kind of encouragement. There’s already plenty of fast-moving show offs running meetings in leathery conference rooms at this very moment. What there’s not an abundance of is guts, and integrity.

There are a few clients willing to tell their agency that their work is shit, but how many agency people do you know willing to tell a client that their product, marketing and process is shit?



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.