Buy This Ad Agency!

April 3 1998 3:30 AM

Buy This Ad Agency!

The one thing today's advertising execs can't seem to brand is themselves.

(Continued from Page 1)

In a sense, the advertising industry is reluctantly moving toward a business model much closer to the so-called free-agent economy than to the traditional idea of a corporation. As advertising budgets become more fragmented, it's easy to imagine a situation in which ad agencies serve primarily to orchestrate production teams, bringing in art directors and copywriters for specific ad campaigns rather than keeping a whole staff on hand. When agencies lose major accounts, they often fire nearly everyone involved with the account. How much longer can it be before agencies decide that operating on a free-lance basis is simply more efficient?

Advertisement

What keeps the older model intact, in part, is the importance of relationships to the business. Advertising is still a world where glad-handing and drinking with clients is important to keeping their accounts. But the studio system in Hollywood disappeared while studio execs remained important as deal makers, and the same could happen in advertising. As clients grow increasingly less committed to their ad agencies, the economics of the business will have to change. In his immensely tiresome memoir, Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy wrote, "If you can make yourself indispensable to a client, you will never be fired." No doubt. But for the ad agencies, indispensability turned out to be a hard sell.

TODAY IN SLATE

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?

The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off

This Was the First Object Ever Designed

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

Moneybox

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.

Music

A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …

The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.

Is Everyone Going to Declare Independence if Scotland Does It? 

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Trending News Channel
Sept. 12 2014 11:26 AM Identical Twins Aren’t Really Identical
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Music
Sept. 14 2014 11:44 PM A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now … The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?