Who’s standing up for the work?

I’ve been having a few conversations lately on the future of agencies and in all truth, considering some pretty serious questions.

Are clients buying creative people and strategic thinking from creative agencies, but when it comes to media agencies they’re really just buying space?

Do clients actually want to buy thinking from anyone, or is that just thrown in as a cherry on top, because they’ve commissioned a TV Ad or some media space?

Are most clients longing for a return to the full service agency?

And most serious of all, when above-the-line advertising spend is the first part of a marketeer’s budget to be cut, has the business community lost faith in the power of advertising, full stop?

Part of the problem is our own behaviour. Increasingly, I’m seeing agency people tiptoe around their clients. We don’t want to lose the business. We don’t want to appear difficult or challenging. We don’t want to rock the boat.

From a survival perspective, it’s not a smart strategy to go out there on a limb, when everyone else is happy with the status quo. It’s lonely out there on your own.

Except often the status quo just isn’t good enough. It doesn’t lead to excellent work. It doesn’t push through innovation. It doesn’t take risks but it doesn’t reap the rewards either. And without these extraordinary rewards, is it any wonder that the business community isn’t seeing how advertising is positively impacting on their bottom line.

As experts in our field, we have a responsibility to be confident and to stand up for the work. If nothing else, the mere future of our industry depends on it.

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