I had a bit of a personal stake in the Current TV TwitteRFP because I sent the tweet that got my agency on the first shortlist, as well as being a Current TV viewer and community member. So yes, it’s a little disappointing to see the final list sent by Jordan Kretchmer without Partners + Napier on it, but there are some other issues I’d like to focus on.
First, when you look at the 17 agencies left, you see only 3–McCann SF, McGarry Bowen and TBWA/Chiat/Day–that are owned by holding companies. 14 of the 17 are independents, some mid-sized and some with only a handful of employees. I think that’s huge. I believe that if advertising has a future, it’s in the independent shops–the ones who are only accountable to themselves and their clients. Without an accountant as CEO, these agencies can stay focused on client service and great creative work. I suspect Jordan understands this as much as anyone.
And let me say a bit about Jordan himself. He always sent direct tweets to me whenever my agency did something to get his attention. And he sent me a note of thanks within 5 minutes after posting the final list, which we didn’t make. It was simply a thank you note for participating. That’s a classy move, but more importantly, that’s the kind of communication that makes ad agencies feel appreciated. And when you get a nice, appreciative, communicative client, ad agencies will bend over backwards for that person. Clients who act like privileged assholes simply don’t get that kind of service for long.
I said it before, and my agency’s managing partner said it again today: It’s clear Jordan was an agency guy. He gets it, he understands that the new business process needed shaking up, and he put himself out there to do it. Now he’s got 17 agencies (I don’t think there’ll be 17 in-person presentations, but I’m not sure) to choose from, many of whom don’t usually appear in Adweek or Ad Age. He’ll get some great thinking, not just because he’s the client, but because he’s as dedicated as the agencies he’s considering.
So while Jordan got the attention of ad agencies across America, I hope there are others paying attention, too:
The CMOs and marketing directors who feel the need to ditch their agencies every year or so while trotting out the same 5 or 6 tired contenders to pitch an account.
The pitch consultants who demand that agencies pay money simply to get in their database for future consideration.
The legions of mediocre clients who feel entitled to treat agencies like shit day in and day out, then bitch in surveys about how their agencies are not responsive or nimble enough.
Are they out there? Are they watching? Will the TwitteRFP lead others to open up their new business processes? I sure as hell hope so. And I sure hope the agency that wins the Current TV business proves that Jordan, along with the dozens of agencies that expressed interest, were right to embrace this TwitteRFP. Success breeds imitation–and in this case, it would be a wonderful thing.