It seems that every company with a Photoshop license seems to think that they are an ad agency…like this partner agency that I am working with. They are a below-the-line/brochure shop and every time they present new creative, they always seem to have somehow slipped a brand ad into their presentation.
Of course, they say that it’s only “to illustrate the holisitic nature of the idea” but we all know what they are really trying to do. They’re trying to broaden their scope of work. They’re trying to win some of our business.
They’re so bad at actual advertising that they don’t stand a chance.
I lucked into finding out just how bad they are because I happened to be at our client’s office for an unrelated-to-their-presentation meeting and the client invited us in to the meeting. The look on their face when the ad agency turned up to participate and they knew they were presenting print was classic.
The look on my face when I saw their work was a mixture of reflexive disgust and ego-boosted glee.
The headlines were ill-punctuated written representations of an array of catered turd sandwiches. Oh, and they didn’t use the brand tagline (not that something like a tagline is important or anything). I couldn’t help but laughing…and then trying to cover it up…and ending up giving myself a coughing fit. My throat was sort the rest of the afternoon. But it was worth it.
Agencies of the world, hear me now – below-the-line, SEO, brochures, PR, promotions, etc and so on are an important part of the marketing mix but you’re in no way capable of doing the heavy lifting of brand building. Most traditional below-the-line is product selling, not brand building. And that’s cool, products do need to be sold last I checked…it’s just doesn’t really prepare you to do this advertising thing.
It’s harder than it looks.