George Parker: any more clients like Kraft Heinz and it’s time to return to playing the piano in a brothel!

I shall return to playing the piano in a brothel!

Yeah, so the headline is a “homage” to Jacques Seguela’s 1979 book… “Please don’t tell my mother I work in advertising, tell her I play the piano in a brothel.” Amongst his other notable quotes are “Everyone has a Rolex. If you don’t have a Rolex by the time you reach 50, then you have clearly failed in your life.” And, “The consumer is a child who must be reawakened every day to buy his toys.” Ha, you can’t escape the fact that these consummation de fromage, boire de Chablis, singes de surrender, certainly have a way with le mot!

So, what the fuck brought on this sudden over-the-top Francophile frenzy? Occasional readers of my odd insights on Stephen’s splendid site, MoreAboutAdvertising, as well as those having the fortitude to follow my rants on AdScam for the last ten years, may have sensed that I am finding it increasingly difficult to write cheerful and optimistic posts about the current state of the Ad Biz.

Obviously, the increasingly onerous conditions and working practices of the industry bear little resemblance to my much chronicled Mad Man days of the 60’s and 70’s. Ah yes… All that loverrrlly sex, drugs, rock & roll, thanks to the largesse dispensed via the AmEx Platinum card expense accounts of such once great agencies as Ogilvy, JWT, Y&R, Chiat etc.

But, last week’s news that Kraft Heinz is reviewing its creative accounts in order to achieve $1.5 billion savings by 2017 is yet another nail in the rapidly closing ad agency coffin lid. We are now told that agencies responsible for creative will have to say sayonara to any further involvement when it comes to producing their “ground breaking” ideas for baked beans, ketchup, mac & cheese and other gourmet delights, as this will now be handled and executed by the client. It means that the production staff at the various AORs may as well sign on with Uber. It also means that the second shoe to drop not too far in the future will be the creative one. Better take up cobbling.
kraftheinz
Never forget that some clever fuckers are sucking from both ends of the nipple. When WPP created Hogarth, genteelly described as a “Marketing Implementation Agency,” it was so they could suck away the production income from their constituent agencies. Not a problem, all the agencies had to do was lay off their production staff.

Gotta go and practice my piano.

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About George Parker

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George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, Confessions of a Mad Man, makes the TV show Mad Men look like Sesame Street.