George Parker: For Your Delectation and Edification, I Present “The Client of the Future”

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com. Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.


Last week I talked about the never ending bullshit we continually hear from people claiming to have created the next “Agency of the Future.” Whether it be based on Crowdsourcing, Enfatolytics or Anthropology, most are destined to fail because they are merely re-polishing the same old turd. The basic premises that agencies continue to hit clients over the head with, is that they are building brands, delivering a better ROI and engaging in a synergistic partnership to deliver long term results.

Which is all bullshit, because none of these things are actually what clients, deep down inside, want from their advertising agencies. They may not admit it when at the numerous marketing and advertising wankfests clients love to go to, as long as they are held at luxury hotels surrounded by golf courses and in an exotic location. But once they return to corporate headquarters in Boise, Idaho, it’s back to “When are those fuckers at the agency going to help us sell more shit?”

As the economy is destined to get worse before it gets better, and don’t give me that “The recession is over” bullshit, when one in six Americans are out of work, and these are the poor fuckers you expect to buy your made in China, Gucci loafers at Wal-Mart… Clients are increasingly getting antsy about having their marketing and advertising budgets produce concrete results. That’s why I said last week that any client with half a brain will soon come to the realization that if their agency is playing the “Brand Building” card, rather than delivering sales results, they are going to be in serious shit.

Check out any of the Web sites of the BDA’s, they are all still talking about branding, not selling, branding. One of the most pathetic examples is Ogilvy’s site. I would recommend the agency principals of that once great agency to sit down, pour a large single malt, fire up the gnarly pipe, and re-read the company founders classic book of FORTY SIX years ago, Confessions of an Advertising Man. Wherein he repeatedly says (As he did to me in person forty five years ago when I was fresh off the Queen Mary) “Advertising is all about selling.”

OK… Let’s get to the nub of this rant…

The “Client of the Future” will be the one who recognizes that they don’t necessarily have to go to an agency to get what they need… That’s why I said last week, any agency setting itself up as a “crowdsourcing” specialist, deserves all the shit that’s going to happen to them. Because even the dumbest of clients will soon realize they may as well cut out the middle man and deal directly with the content originators. Smart clients will also come to the conclusion that if they do want to work with an ad agency, it will be in their financial interests to work with one that is not a publicly traded company, let alone part of a conglomerate run by bean counters. They will insist that the agency they hire is capable of delivering a unique product in a variety of disciplines. They will select this agency without the benefit of agency search consultants, or multiple rounds of pitches over many long, expensive and wearisome months. This will require them to hire a real marketing CMO genius who has the balls to go with his gut and stick by his convictions. They will reward their agency partner handsomely and make working on their account the best thing this side of an orgasm.

Well, fuck. I can dream, can’t I?

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.

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