The Ad Industry Needs Pull Its Head Out of its Ass and Grow a Pair
As follow up to a post he wrote on his blog about the good old days of advertising, George Parker followed up writing, "Apart from a stroll down memory lane and reminisces about great bars and restaurants, many of which no longer exist, the big question raised was, was the work better, and did we have more fun doing it? Yes, I think the work was better, and I know that will raise a shitstorm from young fucktards who think creating stuff for digital, viral, WOM, CGC, and whatever else is flavor of the month is harder and requires a greater range of skills. To which I answer, you are probably right, but that's not the fucking point."
Parker continues, "It's still all about ideas and great content... Not fucking execution. There seems to be a great deal of confusion on this. Do it on the back of an envelope (or better yet, a cocktail napkin) before you spend fucking hours tarting it up in Photoshop and Illustrator, or whatever you create incredibly finished layouts in these days. If it doesn't work on the cocktail napkin, it certainly wont work on your 42 inch monitor. So, order another drink and start over."
He is absolutely right. It's not about the technology. It's about ideas. As an industry, many of us are overly caught up with the available bells and whistles we have at our disposal and we rush in just because they are cool. We forget the most important point of advertising. Aside from it's primary purpose of helping brands sell stuff, it's about the idea. The Big Idea as Phil Dussenberry (not Donny Deutsch) always said. Once you have the right idea, everything else is easy.
Touching upon the industry's rampant fear and missing backbone, Parker wrote, "Today, everyone is fucking terrified, all the time. With a couple of notable agency exceptions, no one fights for anything, everyone fucking caves."
He's right. When was the last time you truly stood up to a client? We're not talking about politely explaining why a particular idea or strategy is in the client's best interest. No. we're talking about a heated battle that could very well lead to the loss of an account. A heated battle which represents your stance and your complete confidence what you're proposing is the right thing to do despite the client's objections.
I once told a particularly demanding and opinionated client who reveled in his ability to create fear among those in the agency to "shut the fuck up and listen to what I'm telling you. You're wrong and I'm right." I then proceeded to explain why he should approve the direction I was proposing. The result? He accepted my recommendation and I became his peer rather than his agency lackey. And he respected me for standing up to him. And he never berated me again.
It doesn't always work this way but it's much better than going through your day in a state of fear. If you feel strongly about an idea or a strategy and you can back it up with research and experiential gut, then you should stand up for it and demand it be given attention.
If you roll over out of fear, you are handing the other person the keys to your ball sack to put it bluntly. If you're submissive and bend over all the time, you will never earn the respect of the aggressor. But if you stand up, pull your head out of your ass and fight for your ideas, you will become a peer rather than a spineless speck of wasted space easily slapped down by the aggressor...who in most cases is a giant dickhead and needs to be properly put in their place anyway.
So consider your new-found bravery and confidence a strategy unto itself: to eradicate the world of pontificating fucktards (as George loves to say) with false senses of superiority.