Being a bitch to the marketing department

In the modern day climate since the GFC we’ve seen ad agencies batten down the hatches and pretty much do as the client desires. Headlines have been changed, marketing semaphores have been sitting on designer’s shoulders, and to be honest everything’s been a big mess. This has all come about just to one thing.


Admittedly the biggest and best ad agencies have managed to come through these delightful trials and tribulations relatively unscathed, the best clients usually still understand the importance of advertising and the fact that ad agencies are the professionals in creating campaigns rather than marketers by proxy. But that leaves the other 95% of agencies that have willingly bowed to the wishes of the client.

I’ve seen things from clients demanding sentences misspelled “because I don’t like possessive apostrophes anyway,” to the client and GM sitting beside a designer and instructing him exactly what to do in terms of a layout and concept.

The ultimate outcome of this is the more the marketer thinks he/she can do it themselves the more the push is to take everything internally so they have full control. And this more often than not results in a huge mess.

Very few companies can successfully implement an internal ad agency that has any sort of merit. Why? because no self respecting creative or designer would want to be attached internally and be forced to obey the whims of the first year grad marketers. That and the fact Saatchi & Saatchi looks more impressive on a CV than designer at GE money.

This isn’t 100% the case. There are some (relatively few) exceptions. Red Bee is one (the internal ad department for the BBC), Comedy central is another. And even Cheil (internal comms company for Samsung) has been doing some tasty work around the world on its plethora of products.

So, where is this all leading?

With more marketing interference the work will never be the same again (in terms of quality and stand out sales results). And this is coming from a range of people in the industry.

Just one example is the SKY UK Christmas campaign which is a relatively good TV ad (vintage and new release movies blended into your average family’s do at Christmas). However looking at the billboards and print accompaniments you can see where the marketers have got stuck in. Every bit of marketer changing and tinkering that could be done. Has. From the characters now glowing for no apparent reason, to disgusting snowflakes all over the layout “it HAS to be more Christmas?” “Why?” “Because it’s Christmas!!”” to unnecessary sub messages all over the layouts that confuse the hell out of me.

And this is just one example that has come from London, arguably the epicenter for world advertising.

So where is this all leading? To a world one day where all the ads we see are just giant billboards with logos on them a la Blade Runner?

I’d like to say that sooner or later the agencies will take back the reins and start to produce insightful work, but at the moment it’s all a bit of a marketing clusterfuck that seems to be getting worse by the month.

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