Self Delusional Salesmen

If you don't already read the blog of ace marketing man Dave Knockles, I Am The Client, then I heartily recommend that you do. I couldn't agree more with his observations of the lunacy of the advertising world, and his latest post Things I Don't Understand About Agencies is a perfect example. I particularly enjoyed this part:

"The industry-wide self-delusion that they aren't salespeople.
Come on, folks. Let's the two of us have a heart-to-heart here. Nobody else - just us. Let me be honest, because I like you / you buy me beerz.

The only difference between you and a car salesman is an ironic T-shirt."
It's something that I think is very true, very sad, but very funny about the most of the ad industry. Maybe it's a distaste for the idea of selling among the oxbridge graduates and precious, business illiterate creatives that find their way into advertising? Maybe it's a result of agencies trying to guarantee their role at the top table of business by hawking the nebulous role of Brand Builder? Whatever the reason, it's a delusion that has confused the ad industry in a state of perpetual denial crossed with verbal diarrhoea.

The real irony is that business valued advertising agencies much more when they accepted (and moreover enjoyed) that they were in effect, highly skilled, creative salesmen.

Bob (The Ad Contrarian) Hoffman has written brilliantly on this strange and damaging phenomenon here, I've wittered on about it too, most recently here.

Self delusion.
You never quite know that you suffer from it.


  1. I fucking love you, I do.

    And if your agency had receptionists with big bristolas, a massive expense account, an office in Soho I could stagger to from mine, an office in New York my boss could use to off-load his mistresses and a massive expense account, I'd hire you.

  2. Absolutely 100% spot on.
    Agencies are full of the emotion, the brand, the feeling; what tosh. The pound note is a pariah. Why are you, the client, taken in? It's all about SELL SELL you misguided pathetic purveyors of products and services. Do you realise you are being fleeced and ridiculed by blood-sucking sets of initials?
    On another note - what an aptly named blog you have dear boys.

  3. Does being a brand advocate pay better than being a creative I wonder?
    Can you charge more for content optimization that leads to incremental improvement for your engagement metrics, than you can for simply an ad that works?
    Maybe there's something in it, maybe not.
    Let's get together and have some blue sky thinking on the issue and have a brand storm over a chai latte.

  4. Sounds strangely similar to another area of the country in crisis. The school system and the attitude of teachers:

    They viewed inculcating attributes such as lucidity, spelling, grammar, punctuality and manners as “patronising”. They feared anything that smacked of the didactic. “I am not a teacher. I am a facilitator,” said one teacher primly. The head of another school insisted she was a “head learner” rather than a headmistress.

    Okay then... full article here


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