Dance, clown, dance

A great article in the LA Times (annoying, but free registration required) entitled ‘Agencies pulling stunts to win clients’ that has a lot of tidbits about how desperate ad agencies are becoming to get work.

A notable quote, ‘The field is so crowded that the big agencies are going after accounts they used to scorn, and spending a lot to win them.’

Among the bright ideas that didn’t do a thing but spend a lot of money was a agency in Phoenix who wanted to send out sausages to prospects with the message ‘This is the last baloney you’ll ever receive from us.’ But the meat went bad before they could pull it off. And then there’s the agency in El Seguendo, faced with losing a current account because the client didn’t see them as hip, resorted to the following:

…rented a three-story house on Hermosa Beach, equipped it with funky furniture and video games, commissioned a graffiti-esque wall painting and staffed the place with employees in their 20s. Come pitch time, a chauffeur in a Hummer drove Boost Mobile executives to the beach house and they were given a tour of what {the agency} promised would be its new Boost Mobile marketing headquarters, devoted to selling the younger generation on the wireless companies’ products.

It didn’t work and tens of thousands of dollars went bye-bye without a payoff.

Oh, there are tales of the gimmicks working as well, but only after dedicating mega bucks and mega time (which is worth mega bucks).

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And all it does it make you look desperate. Suckers. Again, this is just further perpetuating a sense of ‘we’ll do anything for you’ relationship, which usually turns out to be abusive. Sure, it’s fun to think up these stunts and set them up, but it’s a lot like answering RFPs and doing spec work: you still don’t have all the information and you have no idea what the outcome will be. Those guys could be walking into your office with their minds already made up. And while a stunt like the ones in this article might make them smile, smiles don’t really put food on the table, now, do they?

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