The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Clothes Maketh The Desperate …
April 30, 2008, 7:30 am
Filed under: Comment

The delightfully vulgar George Parker wrote about this on his weapon of mass cusstruction, but I just had to post on it as well because it single-handily shows what’s wrong with corporate adland and Leo Burnett’s in particular.

I should say now that I’ve always had an irrational dislike of that agency …

I admit that I’ve never worked for them … I admit they’ve done some lovely work … and I admit they have loads and loads of clever and lovely people who work there quite happily … however the mere mention of their name is guaranteed to make my face resemble a bulldog licking urine off a stinging nettle and I have no idea of why that is the case at all.

Well, apart from the fact I’m an arse!

Anyway back to the post …

What’s the betting the board member who decided on this move is someone walks around saying, “We’ve lost our place in the boardroom”?

Well the fact is they have but if he/she thinks a pair of fucking dress shoes [whatever they are, but I can sure as hell bet they’re not Birkies!] will get their place back, they’re even more fucked than I thought they were.

George [mine, not Parker] has this theory that one of the reasons clients don’t respect agencies so much anymore is because they’ve all become too much like them.

Their dress code, their business approach, their language – it’s all so bloody ‘corporate’ so clients no longer see them as a bunch of guys who can take them to new and interesting places …they see them as ‘suppliers’ and as such, treat they with about as much respect as they do their night-shift. In other words: SOD ALL!

If what Leo Burnett’s are implying is true – and an agency will win clients based purely on their dresscode, then my response is [1] they’re a fucked client [2] They’ll never win Apple or Virgin [3] I’m going to be bankrupt …

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how appearances are important but this industry has already adopted style over substance in most of it’s output and if they’re going to start that behaviour in their day-to-day practices, then it’s not just corporate suicide, it’s the end of an agency that used to fight for what it believed rather than sat there all passively hoping not to offend anyone because these days they’ll take any client they can get.

22 Comments so far
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I love this post but then I look at how I’m dressed and it’s depressing.

One day I will return to the sneakers and tees crew…

Comment by Age

Are you at LB Age?

I’m with George (both of them) this is a stupid decision which is designed to make the senior management feel less out of touch than anything approaching making the business look more professional or appealing to clients.

Didn’t LB approach you Rob? You know one day when you’re desperate and applying for a mail boy job there, they’ll find this post and your life on the streets will continue 🙂

Comment by Pete

Does this mean Leo Burnett’s are only going to have corporate clients from now on? Makes sense financially but I’m not so sure creatively .

Clients engage creative companies because they tend to have a fresh perspective on how to achieve our short and long term goals and it is for that reason we don’t mind if a bunch of scruffians walk into the boardroom as long as they talk sense, are interesting and understand they are working to achieve our goals, not just theirs.

I hope this decision works out for them but I fear it is a sign of desperation than inspiration.

Comment by Lee Hill

I hate it when ‘-casual’is put on the end of dress styles as a token gesture. There’s nothing casual about shirt, trousers and shoes dammit!

I might go and copyright the term ‘Drag-casual’, just incase this trend continues…

Comment by Dave Mortimer

I’m at McCann in Melbourne, Pete.
It’s not THAT corporate but I am required to wear a suit (no tie though) most days… If you knew me you’d know how out of character that is for me. I try to bend the rules as much as I can.

Comment by Age

You have a good memory Pete and in a strange twist of fate, I got a phonecall from a senior LB person last night, asking if we’d be interested in doing some projects for them around the World.

Trouble is, she’s a lovely and smart person so I felt guilty saying no, but if she comes back and say’s there’s a huge amount of money in it, then I think cynic might suddenly see it as a major opporunity to work with a pillar of the advertising community, haha!

I guess the bus shelter beckons – that’s something for me to look forward to – why do you think I did the homeless thing.

Hey, talking of that, can you give me the name of that charity expert you told me about – we have a final barrier to jump before it becomes an official organisation and I need specialist help.


Comment by Rob

Hi Rob, his name is David Marshall and I’ll e his number to you. He’s a fantastic guy and is doing a lot of work with Amnesty so I am sure he can help.

George told me what you guys had done so far with it and it’s great, so you should tell update us all because everyone who comes here regulary thought/thinks it’s a great idea.

You keep rebelling Age but I hope you didn’t think I was judging you because that was not the case, it was more me offering my support to you over another stupid company decision.

Comment by Pete

Thanks Pete – and yes, I’ll write something up soon, I just wanted it all to be official before I told people what’s been going on [and for the record, a lot has, it’s not been left to rest] but we’re close to agreeing a deal with 2 ‘brands’ that will help the cause immensley so let me get all that signed and sealed and then I can open my gob 🙂

Comment by Rob

That sounds cool but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out who one of those brands you’re talking to is, but who is the other?


Comment by Pete

No Pete … and can we not use my blog to have a general chit-chat, pick up the bloody phone or SKYPE me you lazy sod 🙂

Comment by Rob

I thought the consensus was that this was a Big Dumb Viral for a BDA… but maybe i’m wrong.

Comment by lauren

Ha, no way I thought that Pete, it was more my ego forcing me to prove i’m not a suit wearing corporate wanker!

Comment by Age

Come on Age, lets see a photo of you and we can check if you look as miserable as you said I did on this photo …

Comment by Rob

Trust me I will look FUCKING miserable because I got the red rings of death on my xbox last night before I could even take my new GTAIV disc out of the case.

I wanted (and still do) want to kill someone.

That and dealing with xbox customer service over the phone has pissed me off beyond belief.


Comment by Age

Oh you poor sod – I had that just before Christmas but Singapore being Singapore, it got sorted out in it’s usual efficient-yet-souless manner so I could ruin Jill’s festive season by spending it focused on a television screem shooting the shit out of anything on Call Of Duty 4.

Oh and GTA is well worth the hype – but I guess you’ll find that out for yourself when you get things working again. Sometime in 2011!

Comment by Rob

Make me cry at my desk in front of my co-workers why don’t you?!


Comment by Age

Check this link out Age …

Comment by Rob

Well the jokes on me isn’t it.

WOW, those guys are crazy funny aren’t they.

Given Age’s situation, maybe McCaan’s should take this spoof poster and put it through their DEMAND CHAIN process so that they can come up with an even better version that ensures their whole network realises they aren’t about ad’s, they’re about business professionalism and t-shirts are the work of the immature!

Comment by Robert

This cunning piece of comedy caught me out too Rob.

Comment by Marcus

Wearing a good tailor made suit is the dogs bollocks!

Men feel great in it, women love a man who looks great in it.

And as I seem to recall the golden age of advertising, with Bernbach, Krone, Ogilvy, Webb Young, Burnett himself was an age of hat and suit wearing gents. If it wasn’t for JFK refusing to wear a hat( thus killing it’s appeal), I do believe people would still be wearing one in large numbers. At the end of the day it’s clothing. In holland we have a saying that hanging gold on a monkey, does not hide the fact that it’s a ugly thing to begin with. so wear a suit, or not but don’t hide behind it like it’s an excuse for stupid tinking or great thinking, respect or lack of it. fucking monkeys

I need to stop drunkblogging

Comment by niko

I am very glad where I work is very laid back in terms of dress code. It makes everything feel nice and friendly.

Who wants to intimidate potential clients?!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

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