Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beware The Bubble

Planning, and advertising in general, is filled with remarkably intelligent people from all over the world. As you would hope with creative agencies, we come with different backgrounds, points of view and ways of looking at problems.

So I was very disappointed to see a recruitment ad on Campaign's website today that implied only one place in the world is worth having experience in.

It was a small, independent agency looking for a planner. Excellent, always good to see small agencies appreciating the value of strategic planning.

Then however, it said this:

"You’ll have excellent planning experience gained in a London agency."
Oh dear.

So excellent planning experience gained at other great agencies in any other country or city in the world doesn't count? That planner with 10 years at CPB in Boulder, JWT New York or W+K Portland isn't good enough then? I do hope it was the recruiter that added this, not the agency.

There are so many brilliant, forward thinking people in London. But there are all over the country, and all over the world. If you want to get ahead, then why not bring in people who have experience of planning in other places? Why on earth would you restrict yourself to only wanting those with London experience?

Most agencies in London are good. They appreciate the value of experience wherever it comes from. But there are still a small number who seem stuck in a bubble that fail to see in a global world, being in one place doesn't matter like it used to.

The agency that is arguably the best in the country, and the best network in the world has probably the most varied recruitment policy of any agency I know of. If that doesn't show you the value in avoiding the bubble, I don't know what will.

I once had an interview at an agency in London, who basically said to me they would rather I had worked at a bad agency in London than a very good one in Manchester. How ridiculous. The market may be a little different, but the skills are the same. If you are a good planner, you are a good planner, regardless of location.

Most agencies are past such thinking now, but the ones who aren't need to change or be left behind.

"You’ll have excellent planning experience."

Simple as that.

[Edit: Interesting point made by Mark Hancock. It may mean "You WILL gain excellent experience at a London agency." Which is far better, but as we all know, clarity and context is everything. Hopefully in this case it's just a copy issue not a bad recruitment policy issue... There are still a few agencies for whom the message is valid anyway though!]

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