Is your agency adding value or costs?

The ad agency business has to change.  I’ve been hearing that for over five years now yet I am still getting complaints from clients about the costs some agencies are charging for even minor things.  With P&G vowing to cut another $400 million in agency fees the tip of the iceberg may be finally about to melt.

Reading the evaluations of the Super Bowl commercials was entertaining yet not one business publication was willing to ask “what did the spot do for sales?”.  Nobody pats themselves on the back more than the ad agency business.  These are the same people who jet off to France to bask in the sun and talk about how they fleeced clients out of millions of dollars.

Not too long ago on a layover I had the chance to watch some cable TV reruns of the TV show ER which I happen to really like.  The shows were almost unwatchable because of the same commercials that were running again and again.  No wonder so many people are cutting the cord.  This is a problem that the ad industry and brands refuse to acknowledge.  Not only was the frequency over the top, the spots were really bad.  An honest agency would inform clients that too much reach and frequency is a waste of money, but remember not too long ago agencies were getting kickbacks from media companies.

Agencies can no longer cling to the outdated model of just developing ads and billing clients.  They need to become valuable partners with a stake in key brand metrics that grow sales.  They have to hire people who can disrupt the status quo and think like a pirate, but that would threaten too many people (and jobs).

Either the ad agency business will change or it will suffer the consequences.  Right now change seems to be a foreign word to them.