Doing good advertising is pretty hard. Doing pretty bad advertising is easy.
Finding the thing that will make people change their behaviour/attitude/buying habits/whatever the aim is, and then refining that into a very simple, contagious, memorable thought is difficult.
Then, finding an entertaining/engaging/novel/powerful way to communicate the above thought is even more difficult.
Doing both, the essential of great advertising, is double difficult.
So, like stream working it's way down a mountain side, ad people and clients increasingly revert to the easier path.
For clients, why work hard at making that message funny, entertaining, powerful or interesting when you can just ram it down the throat of the viewer? Tell the agency to get on with it, go home and put your feet up in the knowledge that no one on the board can call your bluff or say the advertising isn't trying hard enough. Easy.
For the agency. Why go to all that effort to communicate something thoughtful and compelling, motivating or meaningful? Instead just persuade the client that all they need do is entertain, and then stick their logo or product on the end. Job done. You get to make something that is fun, none of that awkward producty stuff to get in the way. Go to the pub and relax in the knowledge that none of your peers can say your work isn't interesting. Easy peasy.
If you want to see the fruits of these two easier paths, just turn on your television, or leaf through a newspaper. It's all around you.
No one said this business was easy. Easy to make money, yes. Easy to grow an agency, yes – well not too difficult if you're not worried about the quality of the work. But easy to do good work – not so much.
The difficult path is the path less travelled. But put in the hours, the slog, the difficult meetings, the arguments, the honest conversations, and the results are always worth it. Now get back to work.