SapientNitro Does An Agency.com Fist Bump

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Here's the biggest problem in the advertising business. As much as agencies may say they hate clients and clients may say they hate agencies, both parties need each other to survive and thrive. Without one side keeping the other honest - whether the client/agency function is internal or external - we end up with work like the famed Agency.com Subway pitch video or this latest gem (see video below) from SapientNitro. Checks and balances people. Checks and balances.

It's not that this self-promotional video is poorly produced or delivers bad information about the agency. After all, agencies are supposed to be creative. They are supposed to be at the forefront of creativity for a purpose or, more accurately, marketing communications. Which, of course, is why every agency website contains a gallery of the work it has done for others.

The work it has done for others.

Yes. The work it has done for others. That is what's most important when it comes to displaying an agency's talent. Creativity with a specific marketing communications goal in mind. Not free form creative. Not creativity for creativity's sake. No. If that were the case, brands would hire abstract artists, pay them a fortune and let them do whatever the hell they wanted.

But in the agency world, creativity has a purpose. And it has constraints. Yes, constraints. It's aim is to accomplish a specific goal. And that goal usually has something to do with selling a product or a service for a brand. Not simply to entertain. And, if you ask us, there's been far too much emphasis placed on simple entertainment value in advertising at the expense of the hard sell message which, as we said before, is the primary purpose of creative in advertising; to sell stuff.

So when we view this Sapient Nitro self promotional video we can't help but wonder why they are doing this? Who cares how creative they can be when it comes to their own inner-focused needs? Is it a representation of how creative they can be with a client? Or is it pure creative folly because there are no real creative constraints placed on the agency when it creates work for itself?

Oh sure. There's a goal and a strategy to most every self promotional piece of work an agency does for itself. Apart from the need for every agency to one up the competition in the hip and cool category, it's all about getting more clients and more business. Yes, business. But when we view creative frivolity like this, the last thing we think off is business.

Now agencies and most everyone else in the advertising business gets a pass when it comes to acting serious. Because serious is boring. Serious isn't creative. Serious is lame. But...this being a BUSINESS...it really shouldn't be. In fact, it should be all about seriousness. And all about exactly what an agency can do for a client that will make the cash register ring. Not how well they can cobble together a pseudo rap song, how well they can prance around the office or how well they can do a slow motion hair flip in front of a fan.

No. SapientNitro should not have to stoop to this level. It's embarrassing for an agency that can stand proud on the merit of its own outward-directed creativity the great work it has done for its clients over the years. There's no need for it to fall into Agency.com fist bump territory.

by Steve Hall    Nov-15-11   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Opinion   

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