Ad people love to gaze into crystal balls. You might say it’s an occupational hazard.
Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, believes that small and mid-sized regional independents are reasserting themselves. He claims, “Many are no longer just winning business with regional accounts, but are winning big engagements with big marketers, proving that “scale” as preached for the past decades can now be delivered (and overcome) with superior talent, expertise, software, nimbleness and customer service.”
Superior talent is the part that truly resonates, but I hear the man.
Sometimes Small Isn’t Small Enough
Is it possible to fix the agency business from within? It depends.
Svetlana Ćopić is one creative director who worked for large and small agencies before deciding to GTFO (and start her own).
Ad Forum features her thinking on the topic:
The agency system is incredibly old-fashioned, robust and slow to change. Also, still very aggressively macho. Creatives, who are the soul of advertising, are notoriously overworked and underpaid. The richest people in advertising are not the creatives, but corporate suits who have never created an idea in their lives. I didn’t want to have anything to do with all that anymore, but was still passionately in love with the bright, untamed, unruly, disruptive and witty side of advertising that had drawn me into it at the first place.
Agreed, macho dudes in suits suck. This is the critique we need to hear and hear again until things change for the better.
Agency Stiffs Not Allowed
At the end of the day, creative people are often tempted to create something new. The culture of not settling for second best touches on the workplace too. When the accounts are lame, and the job turns into “just a paycheck” people head for the door.
In Ćopić ‘s case, she walked through a new door of her own making. She’s now the founder of No Agency.
No Agency is exclusively project-based and doesn’t participate in pitches, as we deeply believe they are not serving anyone. The most successful projects are based on mutual trust, deep personal understanding and shared courage to make a bold decision and stay behind it.
Like every entrepreneur, she called on her own courage and made a bold decision.
The RFP Lottery Is A Losing Game
When the first interaction a client has with an agency is one where the agency works for free and spends weeks or months groveling to win the account, the agency is permanently damaged and along with it the agency business as a whole.
Lots of people who participate in the new business charade know the score but feel trapped by the institutional mindset of their organizations. This is where the entrepreneur is able to rise above and win.