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

Maybe It’s Time We Give [Agency Department] Peace A Chance …
August 2, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

A couple of years ago, I wrote how every culture needs someone they can look down on.

The English look down on the Welsh.

The Americans look down on the Mexicans.

The Aussies look down on the Kiwis.

The French look down on everyone.

Obviously there’s no justification for these views, it’s all based on childish stereotypes, designed to create a sense of [misguided] superiority to hide the fact they’re no where near as good as they want to be or expected to be.

Of course this attitude is not unique to cultures, we see it everywhere and just recently, I saw another pathetic example of it … The 10 Worst People In Digital Media.

Basically it’s a massive diatribe against the ‘old’.

Those individuals who are out-of-date & out-of-touch simply because they need more than 23 candles on their next birthday cake.

Where achievement and attitude counts for absolutely nothing, because the general consensus is that if you can remember the World before the internet, you should go the way of the dinosaur.

Oh but hang on, it’s not all ageist, there’s a bit of cultural & discipline cliche in there too.

What’s this? An ode against the British Planner … especially those who ‘blog too much’.

“The Brits invented planning, so every planning department in New York (and beyond) needs at least one, it seems. The reason for this is simple: To Americans, they sound smart, even if they’re spouting absolute bullshit. The British planner is typically someone who did a bit of graduate studies and fancies himself a quasi-academic at heart. His presentations – sorry, decks – are filled with random examples of “the sharing economy.” And Marshall McLuhan references.”

OK, so I blog waaaaaaay too much, but I didn’t go to uni, I am not sure who Marshall McLuhan is and even Americans think I am a sad bastard … so does this mean I can’t really class myself as a planner?

Has Dan & co been wrongly paying me for the past 3 years?

OK, we know they have, but I mean in terms of calling me a planner when I’m not.

Alright … alright … I’m getting on my high horse here aren’t I.

Look, I appreciate some of their ‘top 10’ might be tongue-in-cheek [or at least I hope it is], I accept there are some older guys who are blinkered to the realities of the modern World [just like there’s new guys who are ignorant to the realities of most people’s lives] … and I know for a fact that there are some ‘types’ of professional that can annoy the fuck out of anyone [from social media ‘gurus’ to planning ego twats] but for an industry that is fighting for its life, these childish cliches are simply highlighting to the business world:

1. We cannot play nicely with each other.

2. We don’t understand what each discipline can bring to the table.

3. We will kill eachother for the slightest bit of praise or fee.

It’s bad enough when the industry tries to pick fights with sister industries – like creative agencies and media agencies – but when you start picking fault with members within your own collective, we’re utterly fucked.

Creatives think planners are a waste-of-space.

Planners think creatives are spoilt and ignorant.

Tech guys think agency creatives aren’t creative.

Suits think everyone but them is spoilt.

Finance thinks no one cares about making money.

Etc Etc Etc.

Now of course there are bad people out there. People who should not be in their job. People who bring the whole industry into disrepute.

And they should be sacked.

But in my experience, they’re more the [bad] exception rather than the rule, so maybe it’s time the industry stops trying to stab itself in the back and learn how to work – let alone play – nicely with each other and see what real collaboration can do.

That said, this will only truly happen when agencies, clients and the industry as a whole start encouraging it rather than using it as a means to satisfy their own personal agendas, things would be easier.

Having ‘effectiveness awards’ that basically ignore the importance and role of creativity – be it thinking or application – is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as celebrating creativity that has almost zero commercial value to anyone – other than maybe the agency. Which is not helped by having clients talk about partnership but then demand their agencies to do more and more of what they dictate, for less and less recompense.

There’s so many elements we need to fix, but the easiest way to start is to get up off your seat, walk over to a colleague in another department – or another discipline – and say:

“Hello, my name is _______, can I ask for your help in something I’m working on?”

What happens next is up to all of us.

16 Comments so far
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Bravo! This is fantastic Rob. Great post.

Comment by Pete

as you told me once, it is never a sign of weakness to ask for help..

But let’s also not get carried away by this peace sign post.

You are still an evil bastard, cause you are making me agree with Pete instead of taking cheap shot at Wave and Buzz..

Comment by niko

Thank you Rob, your post is working already.

Comment by Pete

Thank you mate. Look, I know I can be a prick on this sort of thing so I’m being a total hypocrite with this post, but that article just got under my skin so I’m glad you like what I wrote, just remind me to stick with what I say.

Comment by Rob

Your point that adland continually stabs themselves in the back is a good one. No wonder clients exploit this for their workflow gain. If the industry is so preoccupied with undermining their colleagues how can they ever have the time to ensure they’re not being exploited by their clients. Wrong priorities driven by ego and fear.

Comment by Pete

ive had a fucked day and the last fucking thing i needed was come to this shithole and find a post i agree with. i dont know how you do it campbell, but as niko screamed, youre an evil bastard. its why i semi like you. decent post campbell, thank fuck i know its a one off or that would be far too fucking depressing.

Comment by andy@cynic

There is no point adding any further comment. Once Andrew gave his seal of approval, this post automatically qualified as excellent.

Comment by George

It is like winning an academy award.

Comment by Pete

More like a Nobel.

@ Andy. Hope the bad day is to do with you being a cranky sod & nothing to do with the little one.

Comment by Rob

An excellent read Robert. You bring up many interesting points and pass the baton of blame fairly and equally.

As a client, though one who rarely deals with agencies these days, the point that struck me most was if agency departments can not understand the needs, value and benefits of their partner disciplines, why should we believe they have the capability of understanding what clients and the public at large need?

I know that is not a strict correlation, but the inability to value anyone other than themselves is commercially ignorant.

Comment by Lee Hill

+ 1

Comment by Pete

I don’t don’t look down on any race. I take issue with rancid ideologies like Zionism but that is no different than Nazism. They’re the same deal.

Comment by Charles Frith

Excellent, excellent, excellent.
Even Andy agrees.
Media folks deserve everything they get
Speaking of media folks, I was at the Groucho club yesterday. Managed to spill some coffee on Jeremy vine. He’s not as easy going in real life

Comment by northern

I’m joking about Jeremy Vine by the way

Comment by northern

So close to legendary status and then so far …

Comment by Rob

I’ve never spilt coffee on a celebrity – not even accidentally – but when I left England, I treated myself to breakfast at the Ritz.

As i was leaving through the main door, a dapper little man in a very smart suit, who was running up the steps, ran into me and knocked himself over. I helped him up, and found I was apologizing to Mr. Charlie Watts.

Comment by Ian Gee

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