Christmas brings a lot of big budget ads but the end of the year always brings lay-offs in adland, including senior management whose departure agencies think they can smuggle out because no-one’s looking.
Omnicom’s TBWA has started the trend early though with what appear to be sizable number of departures following the loss of the Accenture business, moving in-house strangely enough. In-house, of course, also means Droga5 which Accenture bought for about $450m earlier this year.
This should be an interesting one. one of the issues with in-house agencies – or the sad ranks of bespoke agencies the holding companies keep setting up – is that the client is always right. So the work tends to be average at best. No-one wants to take chances.
But that’s exactly what Droga5 does. Mostly it works, because it’s a fine agency, but sometimes it doesn’t – and there’s a noisy parting of the ways.
Let’s suppose the bright sparks at D5 produce an idea that depicts, shall we say, tech consultants as identikit data munchkins, completely missing the point of the businesses they work on. Only to be contrasted with someone at Accenture of course, but the Accenture types still might not take kindly to it.
But agencies are the servants of their clients these days and do what they’re told – or what they think the client wants.
There’s an ancient, very likely apocryphal story, about Frank Lowe in his days as MD of the great CDP going to see Nestle (I think it was) down in Croydon, not Frank’s usual stamping ground. He had some lovely artwork (this was when print mattered), with a photograph of the Paris skyline.
“How can it be Paris?” queried the client, “there’s no Eiffel Tower.”
The upshot was that following a brisk exchange Frank advised the client to do it himself if he knew best and resigned the not insubstantial business on the spot.
How brave will Droga5 be?