Sun Times Ad Snob Weighs In On Draft FCB Story

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a more revealing piece from Lewis Lazare. The man is an ad snob through and through.
The evidence:

We hope your black armbands are securely attached by now.
Without question June 1, 2006 will go down as one of the darkest moments in the history of an increasingly troubled ad industry, which, with each passing day, shows new and disturbing signs it has lost its way.
The Draft FCB Group will in fact be is depressingly real proof the American ad industry has been totally and tragically upended.
It’s a shame to think that an agency like Draft that was once the lowly tail on a big, healthy, creatively inspired canine has finally emerged as the powerhouse wagging the mangy mutt that is now the general consumer ad business.
Like it or not, advertising is now almost always only about return on investment, something the Draft end of the industry has proved good at tracking and delivering. The big idea that used to manifest itself in unforgettable advertising — something traditional agencies such as FCB were in business to deliver — seems all but a dinosaur now.
For better or for worse, that’s a reality we’re all going to have to learn to live with. In the meantime, we’re keeping our black armband firmly in place.

Lazare’s “tragic upending” sounds like the end of a war with marketing services the clear victor. But it’s not about that. It’s about chasing the ever-elusive consumer. Traditional shops are in a bad spot today because the consumer is not watching TV or reading print media like she once did. What’s sad is how narrow the view of creativity can be inside traditional shops. Too many traditional creatives are still hung up on a winning Lions when they might be reinventing their business.
Big picture, what we’re looking at is a healthy system at work. While “Rome burns” entrepreneurs like Howard Draft (and many others) continue to step up with alternate solutions. In the 1990s, interactive was born overnight. Now word-of-mouth and viral practices are springing up. There are many bright, creative people engaging consumers on their turf, be that a bar where one-on-one engagement is the answer or on a website where consumers are asked to participate. Clearly, much of this activity eludes the old guard, be they ad columnists or ad makers.



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.