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


If You Don’t Like The Rules … Change The Game, Don’t Play The Game …
June 7, 2011, 6:22 am
Filed under: Comment

So there’s a lot of hoohah regarding alleged corruption inside FIFA.

We have the F.A. [the most apt initials ever to grace an organisation], British government ministers, ex-footballers, television shows and newspapers all banging on about how fucked up the FIFA organisation is … and while they are [probably] right, I find it quite amusing that all this momentum has occurred only after England had another World Cup bid fail.

They say a principal is only a principal when it costs you something … well given the allegations against FIFA have been around for years [exemplified by Andrew Jennings wonderful expose, ‘Foul’] it’s funny the British World Cup contingent didn’t feel it was an issue when they were still in the running to host the biggest competition on earth.

This situation isn’t that far removed from many agency pitches.

So many companies talk about how they’re looking for an agency that will give them great strategy and innovative ideas and then end up plumping for a firm that will give them another piece of non-descript 30″ television advertising wallpaper because they’re either cheap, willing to put up with whatever shit is thrown at them or there’s an existing relationship between the 2 firms at a very senior level.

The thing is, so many people in adland are aware of this reality and yet they choose to ignore the situation either because they need to be seen to be playing the game or they’re willing to sell their grandmother into slavery for a bit more income, regardless of the negative impact it has on their employees or they believe their strategic/creative brilliance will change the pre-determined outcome – and while that might happen, it’s sadly the exception rather than the rule which means a lot of people will spend a lot of time and effort doing something that has little chance of ever achieving the collective goal.

What a waste of time and talent.

To be honest, I quite admire the agencies that win these sorts of clients because they demonstrate a much better ability to read clients true agendas than those agencies who ignore all the signs and go with producing yet another ad campaign regardless of the problem.

Sure, I’d rather not work with companies who start relationships in such an underhand way, but if you know the risks before you play the game, then you have to shoulder some of the blame when you end up on the losing side.


42 Comments

this is another of your all over the fucking place posts but i quite fucking like it. we might not like to fucking say it out loud, but there are fuckers in companies all over the fucking shop who are trying to do their best sep fucking blatter impression with nudge, winks and brown paper fucking bags.

we know who they are but they still get agencies falling over themfuckingselves to throw a load of fucking cash down the drain doing work that will never stand a fucking chance of happening unless you know the secret fucking handshake. you listening bacardi?

even if everyfuckingthing is legit relationships can be seen as corruption. lets fucking face it, aunties friendship with dickie b didnt do us any fucking harm did it except they never wasted others fucking time holding pitches for jobs that were always going to come to us.

pitches are a fashion show parade, never a fucking open competition which is why any fucker worth their salt makes sure they know where they stand before they play the game and if they dont theyre brave or fucking idiots.

the difference between fifa and agency pitches is one is run by fuckers wanting to feather their own fucking nest and the other is decided by people who want to protect their own fucking career.

Comment by andy@cynic

Protect their career?

Comment by Pete

thought planners were supposed to be fucking brainiacs? how fucking hard is it to work out what im saying. ill speak slowly for you to underfuckingstand.

fifa fucks make choices based on what they can get personally out of the fucking decision and some middle management marketing fuckers make choices on what will let them look good to their company hierarchy from the fee they pay to the work that gets made, more often than fucking not something bland and in line with the bullshit safe brand guidelines designed at enormous fucking cost by some bullshit international branding agency who seem to sell blending in as its fucking proprietary tool.

is that better for you fucking diddums?

Comment by andy@cynic

Bacardi callout. Nice.

Comment by DH

You’re right Andy, one persons close relationship could be seen by another person as an ‘unfair advantage’ – and I did say this was one of the things that can fuck up pitches – however as Pete points out in his comment below, there’s quite a difference [at least legally] between being mates and offering money for a favourable decision.

I guess that’s just fucked up the premise of my whole post really hasn’t it. Well, if we don’t count the pitches that are won because of ‘gifts of influence’ or other ‘benefits’ that could easily be construed as unethical behaviour … or at least unethical behaviour from certain cultures points of view.

Comment by Rob

Comes back to the point you made a while back about the outcome of 90% of pitches being decided before the first presentation.

What baffles me is that everybody knows this, and yet they carry on. Delusion or bravery as Andy says.

Comment by Rafik

you fucking know it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Good post Rob. Andy has covered off a lot of my possible comments, especially highlighting how any good relationship between individual and client could be read as giving an unfair advantage.

Naturally a friendly relationship and handing over money to obtain a favourable result are vastly different but that is also one of the open secret games that I think you are referring to in your post that often results in agencies fruitlessly pitching for accounts they stand little chance of winning, though you are much less likely to know this than some of the demands and relationships the guys at FIFA enjoy.

Comment by Pete

so you say ive already covered off what you want to say but you say it anyfuckingway.

everyfuckingthing wrong with planners is right fucking there for all to see. what the fuck has happened to you pete, you were one of the good guys but today is not your fucking finest hour is it.

drink 20 beers and see if that fucking sorts you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Since you left it all went wrong.

Comment by Pete

happened to everyfuckingone pete. just sort yourself out and dont let bollocks like that come from your sausage fingers again.

Comment by andy@cynic

Good call on the F.A. initials too.

Comment by Pete

Does FIFA stand for football is fucking awful? If it does, why are you calling them liars, they speak truth.

Comment by Billy Whizz

football isnt for americans.

do you see what ive done there?

Comment by andy@cynic

Nice. And true. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I know this has nothing to do with this post but what about Ryan Giggs. He makes Rooney look classy, that’s how bad he is.

I can link it to this post, maybe Giggs acted this way so he could sit on the FIFA committee after he retires. He’s a cert.

Comment by DH

sheep in wags clothing.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s all crumbling down for young Ryan, isn’t it?

Whoever published that story about his sister in law first must’ve been sitting on it for ages.

Comment by Rafik

I have a friend who works in the sports department at The Sun “newspaper” and he has so many stories he’s just sitting on until [1] they can be expressed legally [2] it’s a more opportune time to let the cat out the bag.

He is a great person to take for a pint I can tell you.

Comment by Rob

It’s interesting that Placido Domingo recently joined FIFA as an advisor. http://tinyurl.com/3gaoeqh This is an attempt to change their game. Agencies also need to change their games.
Know your target audience and remain true to the agency’s values in pitches.

Comment by Carol L. Weinfeld

It might be to change their game, but getting some opera singing bloke to sit on the committee might not be the sort of thing the rest of the World think will aid in the clarity and transparency of the decisions made by football’s governing body.

Comment by Rob

Agreed.

Comment by carolweinfeld

I’ve never understood an agency that sells something at a pitch and then immediately backtracks, accepts a changed brief, and makes another 30s TVC. It used to happen often earlier in my career. Happens a lot less now, thankfully.

Can cause a lot of premature aging, but there’s few things as satisfying as not-getting-ripped-off-at-the-flea-market. Then again, the premature aging might’ve been the rip-off. x-(

Comment by Aditya

The whole issue of ‘change of brief’ is one that still exists – especially in Asia – and the thing that needs addressing even more, is agencies willingness to take it without recompense, even if months of time, effort and expense have been invested in an alternative direction.

I don’t blame clients for trying to get away with it because agencies have let them … the issue of ‘setting precedents’ is one that is sadly missing in many agencies these days, driven by the fear that the category is so competitive, that if one person say’s no, another will say yes.

I appreciate that, but it also undermines the quality of the work you are doing [or prepared to do] and can only contribute to the industries credibility and value decline.

I disagree adland is in the service industry, but if it is, it certainly isn’t in the subserviant industry and yet quite a few companies [and agency bosses] seem to think they are.

Comment by Rob

RE: service v. subservience, I want to crack a DSK joke here, but I won’t. 🙂

Completely agree on your other points. When you think about it, politicians (read W) do this all the time. They take election as an acknowledgment of mandate, and go do even the fringe things that no sane person would vote for. Never respected the GOP on policy, but admire their disgusting ability to get things done.

Comment by Aditya

I find this an interesting counterpoint to your post on John Jay. He verbalizes what’s right and ideal, but here you deal with what’s real. I imagine greenhorns in adland channeling John Jay and other luminaries only to realize later on that it doesn’t work — not that what they say isn’t right. But being right, and being good don’t always lead to advertising success. There are so many variables – barriers, really – that play a part in getting out good work. So many, in fact, that one cannot be faulted for thinking it comes down to luck. Having said that, it’s still easier to be lucky when one is good. But even the good ones need a break – being in a good agency, having reasonable clients, being surrounded by talented people, etc. There are so many things other than talent that need to align in one’s favor to be as successful as John Jay, Rob Campbell and all you brilliant guys here (no sarcasm there). It’s what separates the luminaries from the hoi polloi in adland. Because the right thing only takes you so far. I imagine that’s part of the reason some admen choose to leave London for Dubai, for instance, for insane sums of money: some sell ideas, some sell souls. It’s a very personal choice. One chooses what one can live with.

Comment by Bennet Dychangco

youre not going to be welcome here if you say shit like that about campbell. jj is crying into his silk shirts being mentioned in the same fucking name as planner twat. cut out the nice shit and you can come again. besides, if you want a job toadiness doesnt work on campbell, the fucker knows he has no redeeming qualities someone would like or want.

Comment by andy@cynic

yes, you’re right. i worked in dubai — a “career move.” left after 1 year. fortunately, i have an agency waiting on me. otherwise, i’d sell my soul to rob and pray to jesus to redeem it after.

Comment by Bennet Dychangco

2/1 you work in dubai or worked in dubai. am i fucking right?

Comment by andy@cynic

You think you’re so clever don’t you Andy!

Hello Bennet, nice to have you pop by.

Comment by Rob

and what the fuck does that say about campbell when hes lives in fucking singapore, hk and now commieland central.

Comment by andy@cynic

droga, too, lived in singapore. that statement is not meant to agitate you further. (nor is it meant to suggest that singapore is like dubai…hell no!) it just means one’s work — whoever he is, wherever he does it — ultimately has to speak for itself. even the bleakest of circumstances cannot squash talent. but success – that’s a different story.

Comment by Bennet Dychangco

I’ve been reading this blog for a while now but never had the courage to comment. Now, however I feel I must.

Good morning.

Comment by Marcus

Good morning Marcus, how is my favourite 40 year old pseudo-German ex-printer genius?

Comment by Rob

he’s 40. turn your skype on.

Comment by Marcus

Later … mainly because I’m typing this while in a research meeting and have to maintain the air of interest and intrigue even though what’s being discussed is as obvious as Jordan’s tits.

Comment by Rob

Turn your music off.

Comment by john

What do you think he’s listening to?

Comment by Rob

You, not Marcus.

Comment by john

Queen or Def Leppard today Rob? I’m with John, turn it the fuck off.

Comment by Billy Whizz

This gets to the main problem – if you read the good book, see the good presentations and read the zillions of blog posts, you would get a completely eroneous idea of what this industry is like. Because everyone talks about how it should be, not how it is.
There are few agencies that do really great, consistent work. Some of that is because of the people they have, most of that is how they treat them, and how they demand to be treated by clients. They stand their ground, and give their best advice, as any good consultant would. And that’s what we are, we’re not partners, we’re not yes men either, we’re consultants.
You’re very lucky if you get to work at one of these places, but even then, people get one hell of a shock when theyt join. They expect some sort of hippie commune where it’s all long coffees, hanging out with artists and great work just appearing.
It’s fucking hard work and the best agencies, certainly the best planners, simply work harder than others do and are no less rigorous, they’re just rigorous about what matters, rather than the sciency shit most marketers still cling to.
But even these places do my head it. I hate agencies that pretend to be professional and lie about how linear and predictable their process is, but the Mothers and WK’s of this world do us all a diservice by making their work look spontaneous and unrigorous, when of course it is quite the opposite.
I forgot what I started saying now. Anyway, some idiot has just brought me the weakest cup of tea ever. Time to open a can of whuppass

Comment by northern

was it that fucking freelancers who stole your tea last time? havent you killed the fucker yet? im ignoring the rest of the shit youve said, it was bordering on planner sensible and were not having any more of that shit on here.

Comment by andy@cynic




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