The report out yesterday from the 4A’s reveals that chief creative officers at large U.S. agencies, on average, billed out their services at $964 an hour to clients in 2008.
At first blush, billing out anyone services at almost $1,000 per hour seems a little ludicrous. One thousand dollars an hour for a 40-hour week comes out to $40,000. That’s over $2 million for the year.
Really, is any creative director worth $2 million?
Surprisingly, the answer could well be yes.
And, what’s interesting, is that in today’s digital world, it’s easy to find out what a creative director's efforts are actually worth.
Digital technology allows advertisers to measure how long viewers pay attention to their advertising for. Did your thirty-second commercial engage the viewer for the full thirty seconds? Or, for just ten seconds?
Let’s say it was the former. Would that creative effort be considered to be more valuable to an advertiser than the latter?
Most advertisers would say yes. A commercial that involves the viewer for the full duration of the commercial has a better chance to persuade the viewer to buy the product than a commercial in which only the first five seconds were viewed.
It comes down to the old adage that you can’t save souls in an empty church.
A commercial that isn’t watch is less effective than a commercial that is watched.
The digital platform now allows advertisers to quantify the view duration of their commercials. So why aren’t advertisers paying their creative directors and their agency’s accordingly? Why do they continue to pay an enormous hourly fee with little regard as to whether or not the creative director actually did the type of work that deserved such a fee?
Why aren’t advertisers holding their creative agencies more accountable?
It’s not because systems don’t exist that will allow such accountability.
At almost $1,000/hour, it seems like a perfectly reasonable question to ask.