Obviously, as I’ve repeatedly told you, I’ve been in the ad biz since Genghis Khan invented the USP, so I’ve seen a lot of changes. Some good, most bad, with the creation of Holding Companies topping the ugly list.
However, the continuing destruction of the English language by the ad biz and ad trades is well up there. Just read this in a recent ad mag…The headline states… “IPG’s Acxiom unveils latest integration offering, ConnecCXions.” The body copy starts… “Interpublic data company Acxiom today announced a portfolio of digital transformation solutions under a new brand called ConneCXions. The main idea is to combine Martech tools like customer data platforms with multichannel ad-tech applications and media networks in a seamless integrated fashion. The new offering packages audience insights & strategy, media analytics, addressable advertising, digital platform services such as DMPs, as well as consulting and advisory services. And it also syncs up with Acxiom’s Kinesso and Matterkind offerings.”
I’m sorry guys, I have no idea what any of that means. Do you?
For years we’ve been told by agencies that they are about to transform themselves by blowing up the silos and breaking down walls. Unfortunately, along with the structural damage, most of these agencies of the future are now agencies of the past. A cheaper solution is to merely change your name to something exotic so that no-one, particularly prospective clients, have an idea of what it means.
My favorite agency name is… “Wexley School for Girls.” Yes, that actually exists. Well, it did for a while, then it closed in 2018. Or, you can always change your name, or come up with some fanciful description of what you do, carefully avoiding the word advertising… Remember Jacques Seguela’s book… “Don’t tell my mother I work in advertising – She thinks I play the piano in a brothel.” Obviously, that was on JWT’s mind when in 2014 they announced to the world that they were no longer an Ad Agency but were now “Cultural Anthropologists.”
They even hired someone to head up a department of neuroscience, consumer psychology and cultural anthropology. That lasted less than a couple of years, then they went back to being an ad agency.
However, to prove that no one in advertising knows fuck all about advertising, they then changed their name from J. Walter Thompson to JWT, then changed back to J. Walter Thompson a couple of years later. Now they are Wunderman-Thompson and my money is on the Thompson bit disappearing after a couple of years.
Now Ogilvy has jumped on the same dumb bandwagon… They have renamed themselves from Ogilvy & Mather to… Wait for it… Ogilvy… Announcing its “re-founding” as a creative network that “Makes Brands Matter,” according to a new tagline. Over at once highly respected Crispin Porter + Bogusky, with the announcement a couple of years ago that Alex was returning to the shop, up popped this on MediaPost… “CP+B is now CPB+” Yes, even once great agencies cannot help themselves from talking absolute shit. However, Alex didn’t hang around for long and left in less than two years to continue having tea with the Dalai Lama in the “Shed” at the bottom of his garden. The agency promptly renamed itself…CPB4.
However, the Dylithium Lion for perseverance must go to The Poisoned Dwarf (Sir Martin) for refusing to retire to his “Shed” to count his millions. Just a couple of weeks ago, he declared that WPP should be broken up ‘cos it had got too big. This from the guy who made it so fucking big with over 650 acquisitions over 35 years. So, you have to laugh when you read that His Gnomeship’s S4 Capital has completed a special share offering valued at £116 million ($145 million). S4 said in a filing the proceeds would be used for M&A activity.
The firm also noted it has several deals in the works including one that is “imminent” and described as being “in eCommerce around a major platform in the United States.” As dear old Yogi would say… “It’s Dejavue all over again.” Sorrell is older than Der Trumpf. They should both call it a day and pack it in.
On a final note… Many years ago, when I was freelancing at Ogilvy, New York, a young AD/Writer team asked my opinion on a campaign they were working on. I said it was nice but was even nicer when Mary Wells did the exact same thing back in the sixties. “Who is Mary Wells?” they asked. “Apart from doing sterling work at DDB and Jack Tinker, she went on to found Wells, Rich, Greene,” I replied. They had no idea what the fuck I was talking about. I was tempted to ask if they had ever heard of David Ogilvy, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort.
So, once again I choked on my breakfast beer when I read in AdWeek that the new Nissan “Ariya” is named after the niece of Allyson Witherspoon, Nissan’s VP of Marketing. When reminded that the last car to be named after a relative..Ford’s “Edsel,” was an embarrassing flop, Ms Witherspoon replied that she had never heard of the Edsel. Time for another beer.