Home > Uncategorized > Everybody’s at it (apart from us)

Everybody’s at it (apart from us)

I reckon nowadays it would be quicker to have a roll call: who’s not cheating? From Volkswagen rigging emissions tests, sporting heroes taking performance enhancing drugs, MPs swindling their expenses, policemen covering up for criminals…it’s a good thing I’m a cynical bastard else I’d be too disillusioned to get out of bed.

Sometimes when these scandals are revealed, I wonder why we didn’t all realise earlier that something was up. We’ve all spotted the massive discrepancies between cars’ advertised MPG and the paltry returns we get on the road. SImilarly, who honestly believes that sheer incompetence was to blame for Stephen Lawrence’s killers’ getting away with it, or FIFA deciding to host the World Cup in a desert with no football stadia? (I think I’m on safe ground legally with these examples…)

Anyway: to the point. As I have written before, I have never, during a 26-year career, personally witnessed any backhanders or bribes in my industry. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I might be missing something (I hope that sentence reads as sarcastically as it was intended). As mediocre work scoops industry awards and some accounts remain moored with agencies who’ve barely created a decent campaign in their history despite billing hundreds of millions (you know who you are), it has, occasionally, occurred to me that someone, somewhere has their hand in the sweetie jar.

My favourite industry blogger, the Ad Contrarian, has been saying as much for a while now, and his latest piece is a tour de force. Here it is.

For years, the media mafia have coined it while creative agencies have seen budgets slashed, staffing levels suffer and a stultifying conservatism lead to a massive reduction in creativity. Yet clients seem oblivious to this and, while chucking money at media agencies, happily disregard another piece of Ad Contrarian wisdom: Creative people make the ads. Everyone else just makes the arrangements.

It might be that the FBI discover no one’s taking backhanders or fleecing their clients. And that online advertising inventory, in particular, is exactly what it’s cracked up to be. We’ll see.

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