agency 2.0

AdPulp mentions the ClickZ conference this morning where Douglas Rushkoff exhorted agencies to push their clients to make better products so selling was not always dependent on the story developed in the advertising.

The ‘Pulp comments:

“Most agency pros are unable to help their clients grasp the intricacies of marketing communications. Trying to help them reinvent their product or service offerings seems, at least on the surface, an esoteric idea that could only be cooked up in a school.”

Leaving aside the agency people (and there are a few out there) who are satisfied with the status quo and forgetting for a minute the clients (you know who you are) who jealously guard functions like innovation and the like, the main reason that agencies aren’t pushing their clients in this way is, I think, tenure on the account.

The shorter an account stays with an agency, the less time the agency has to become a true partner and the less time the agency has to truly understand the business (not just the category). New CMOs who bring their own agency in for no other reason than to put their stamp on the marketing deparment, I am talking to you – you are making it harder for agencies to positively affect your business.

I love the idea of being able to take on the challenge of the business beyond crafting a brand’s story. I wish that clients loved that idea too…


2 responses to “agency 2.0

  1. Thanks. The marketers at the conference looked at me like I was nuts.

    But believe me, advertisers can help cookie companies do more than come up with better haircuts for the elves that live in hollow tree. It’s not outrageous to consider ways that ads and marketers can work with something more central than brand mythology. Fact is, brand mythology is dead. It really is. People want good products, and brand images emerge from the products.

    If you have no access to the thing the company is doing, then you really are out there in the cold. Problem is, most companies no longer have access to the thing they’re doing. How do you do ads for a dog food company that buys its dog food from the same plant in China as every other dog food company?

    You really, ultimately can’t. Not well, anyway.

  2. For the record, I don’t think Rushkoff is nuts. I just don’t think most clients and agencies are presently up to the task. Let me take a page from my own situation. I work on a cigarette account. How might my agency lobby the manufacturer to improve their product?

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