Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh, Ad Agency, how we love thee

Isn’t there a joke about paranoia that goes something like “sure, I’m paranoid, but I have a million good reasons why.”

That's the spirit in which we sympathize with our agency friends. They’re paranoid - restlessly, eternally so - and who can blame them, when the foundation of their entire business is in constant upheaval, one plank after another is being removed from their shelter, every column inch written and ANA speech given on the subject is full of criticism… added on top of what was probably already a fraidy-cat line of work.
We’ve been reminded of this through a few recent conversations with agency-side collaborators. We’d be talking about some of the new partnerships we were bringing into our offering (media, digital, strategic planning, design etc). And the knee-jerk response would be summed up as ‘just remember, the more you have to offer, the more that’s a problem for us… we will see you as competition’.
Agency collaborators, hear ye:

We are not your competition. We do not want to compete with you. We do not want what is on your plate. We do not hanker after your clients.

We don’t even stack up as competition. You: corporation of thousands of employees, ranging across scores of disciplines, serving clients across multiple continents and multi-year contracts. Us: a small group of idea creators, looking only for projects, more than willing to sign non-competes.

We want to work with you to help make your product better, to help make your brand as brilliant as it can be. All we really want to do… wait a minute... maybe we should shut up and let Bob Dylan do the loving:

“I ain’t lookin to compete with you Beat or cheat or mistreat you. Simplify you, classify you, Deny, defy or crucify you. All I really want to do Is, baby, be friends with you.”


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