“You Get What You Pay For” Is An Adage For A Reason

Jim Edwards at BNET wrote some things recently meant to provoke and provoke his words have.
Edwards rebuts Jonah Bloom’s recent attack on the procurement officer.

“The idea that clients will turn away from trying to save money on advertising because Ad Age declares it to be untrendy is, of course, ridiculous,” he writes. Edwards then goes on to suggest some interesting ways for brands to save money.

Why are you paying six figure salaries for creative directors? It’s never been easier or cheaper to be “creative.” Free technology gives even the rank amateur access to professional quality production techniques. Perhaps it’s time to regard creatives as mere technicians who take an original concept and reprocess it for different venues, rather than as unique geniuses whose time is priceless.

My reaction is he can’t be serious. Cheap tools of production (and free global distribution via YouTube) don’t make one creative.
The Grumpy Brit has a more strongly worded reaction:

Did I miss something? Can you buy creativity implants now like fake tits or a fucking pacemaker or titanium knees?
When rank amateurs get “creative” with freely available technology, as you suggest, what you end up with is your neighbour’s holiday video. Installing MS Word on your fucking laptop doesn’t mean you’ll be writing Homeric epics anytime soon.

One of Edwards’ other suggestions is to get out of Manhattan. “Even a move to Queens, New Jersey or Portland, Ore., can cut real estate costs dramatically.”
I think we can all agree that clients (like consumers) want more for less today. A brand’s challenge is to find the best creative talent available and then find a way to get the most for their money from that talent. Likewise it’s a creative person’s job to prove they are worth every cent of their high-dollar rate.



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.