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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  A bad economy and how it affects the ad biz

A bad economy and how it affects the ad biz


Everyone says that the economy is in the crapper and that this is affecting the ad business. Do you think that this is true?

intro A bad economy and how it affects the ad bizCustomers are still lining up and buying tons of useless merchandise. Every where you look, someone is advertising something. Sure, maybe the companies aren’t spending as much money creating the ads because they realize that you can still make a stellar ad without having expensive directors and flying off to Fiji for a shoot. And didn’t the ad revenue increase recently? I think I read that in Adage.

One would think that there would be ample opportunities to land a job in this biz. What am I missing?

Cheers.

We can’t speak universally but we’ll make some observations that apply to many agencies. The first thing to go in a bad economy is the advertising budget. Suddenly it was some kind of a luxury that clients can live without. This happened in spades in North America in the past few years, with the most dramatic dip happening after 9-11. In trying to pull out of the nosedive, agencies and their suppliers (film production houses, etc.) made some terrible mistakes. With budgets cut to the bone, they still wanted to deliver the goods somehow to their clients. So favours were asked and offered, and the next thing you know, clients are getting some great work for next to nothing. Short term, it looked good—work still got produced. But then the problem emerged: a precident was set. If the agency could create good work for way less money, then why not all the time? The downward spiral of death. The clients did not see this as heroic, or even as wonderful favours. It became the new normal. To this day we have to tell our producers to stop asking for favours, as clients who have since pulled out of the economic doldrums have not restored their ad budgets. They’re making money, but their agencies and suppliers are not. These acts of good will have completely backfired on our industry. Until we all stop doing work for far less than it’s worth, we will continue to pay the price. Part of the price is agencies being forced to reduce their staffs. Many are making comebacks, but many more are still running lean (and many have gone out of business). We know better times are ahead. All you’re missing right now is being in the right place at the right time. If your book is outstanding, you’ll get hired sooner or later. That will never change.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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