Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mr Agency and the Extravagent Comparison

Apparently this following question is the closest to "A Campaign headline" i've got in a while. After reading a post from Rob Campbell about the lethargy of so many agencies, and the often apparant void between the creativity they claim and produce. So here goes:

Are Big Agencies the New British Leyland?

Lets look at that comparison is a logical way... this is a generic overview of some big agencies, rather than a critique of one.

1. Mix and Matched Brands

Made up of numerous brands with differing strategies, positioning, qualities, and purpose.
Leyland had Rover, Austin, Morris. What about HHCL/United being part of a group with Grey?
This meant that all the high class targeted Rover products got trapped in the same bracket as the Austin Princess or Allegro.

2. Always looking back not forwards.

Rover started to feel totally dated in the 70s. They were always looking back at the chrome and wood trimmed glory days, despite that market being long gone. Even under BMW ownership, they made the 75 totally historical, even though the brand no longer had any appeal for that shrinking market.

Even when they looked forward (E.g.: The SD1), they completely failed on quality.

Is that reminicent of the attitudes of some agencies towards their founding styles and messages? Relying on what worked when street medicine salesmen were still widely in business??

As for the SD1. How many millions of agencies claim to be creatively led? Yet if that were true why are 90% of ads awful and appear to have no creative thought at all?

Which meant that with the...

3. Market Under Threat

From the Japanese (aka the internet, mobile phones etc); they were completely outclassed and too slow to respond. Even when they did it was panic with no real planning or foresight.

4. Bad Management

Strikes. Not to mention the other faults above. How they could have been fixed without poor management and a company ethos that failed to ever address the issues. A company with huge potential died a slow death through a lack of strategy and a failure to provide what customers wanted.

Ring any bells?

Image from www.austin-rover.co.uk


Rob @ Cynic said...

You know what Mr M ... I love it when you write this sort of thing, it shows how you think as well as what you believe in one lovely, engaging, interesting post.

Please keep it up - it's wonderful to read.

Rob Mortimer said...

Why thank you!
The big question though is do you agree?!!

Rob @ Cynic said...

Yeah ... I do in general terms.

I think it's a bit more complex than maybe you have detailed, but all in all - alot of agencies are getting what they both deserve and have created for themselves..