To raise the bar in 2016, Andy Nairn, co-founder of British agency Lucky Generals, believes we need to ask harder questions of ourselves, our agencies and our brands.
One of the questions on the top of many minds is where did all the passion for the business go?
The best entrepreneurs love their chosen sector and the people they serve. In contrast, too many planners appear somewhat ashamed to be in the business of persuasive communications and decidedly antipathetic towards their ‘clients’ and ‘consumers’. We need to stop sniping from the sidelines and be positive champions of change.
I appreciate Nairn’s willingness to poke a finger in an industry sore spot. Clearly, there are plenty of reasons to be embarrassed when admitting you work in advertising. Most ads are complete shit; therefore, it’s only natural for people to wrongly assume that we either produce said shit, or in some way endorse it.
The real problem here is we have zero standards as an industry. Barriers to entry, yes. Professional finishing schools, yes. But there is no Bar Exam, or any other qualifying test for ad pros, and no professional credentials that matter. In its place, we have award shows, which merely serve to bolster the me-first detachment and arrogance found in many ad creators, and prove to any onlooking clients that people in our profession are clueless and focused on the wrong things.
Defenders of award shows—and there are many vocal and well-known proponents—will argue that clients want to win awards too. That’s mostly false. Clients who intend on moving to the agency side, may indeed want some shiny hardware, but most clients are focused on quarterly earnings and other metrics of meaning.
Nairn wants us to love what we do, and that means embracing the people we do it for—our clients and their customers. How many of your clients and their customers are you embracing today? We have a ton of metrics to abide by, but Bear Hugs Per Person is one that we all might want to add to our dashboard.