The Incredible Rise Of Marketing Services

Once upon a time in Adlandia, a marquis player like FCB would have swallowed up a direct marketing shop like a whale dining on plankton. Today’s New York Times tells a different tale. One where agency holding giant, Interpublic, seeks a union of equals between FCB and Draft.
Yet, when you look at what Howard Draft, the shop’s founder, said in a memo to his staff he clearly hints that Draft is the hotter property.

“I’m not surprised by the number of general agencies who would reportedly like to merge with us, especially when you consider our track record.”

And the funny thing is, he may be right. The Times story indicates some of the possibilities for this merger, including an agency named Draft FCB.

A third option would be for Draft to absorb Foote Cone and continue operating as Draft.

That marketing services has come this long way must shock old school ad men and women. For what creativity is there in a point-of-sale poster or a mailer? What glory in a sampling event?
I think the best below-the-line shops have gotten much closer to the customer than Madison Avenue ever has, and I believe the secret to their growing success is contained somewhere therein.



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.