Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Why Ad Agencies Exist

If you watched the commercials during Sunday’s Super Bowl, you’d have to wonder why ad agencies exist.

Forget the fact that the number one spot, according to USA’s Today Super Bowl Ad Meter, was a consumer-generated effort. This can’t bode well for any agency’s next visit with the CMO of their largest client.

What I’m talking about is why agencies exist. Really. Why?

To me the only reason that agencies exist is to add an emotional hook to a selling proposition. Anyone can analyze a marketing problem. Anyone can strategize. Anyone with just a little information can find a target market.

An advertiser doesn’t really need an ad agency for those things.

What an advertiser does need an ad agency for is to be able to condense all this information down, along with the relatively unimportant claims that clients want said about their products, and add the emotional element that will somehow engage people enough to make them watch.

And, hopefully, persuade them to buy.

How many spots during Sunday’s game did that?

Sure there were many cute commercials, funny commercials, stupid commercials. But of all the spots that ran, how many had an emotional element that helped to make the sale?

One.

Chrysler.

So kudos to Wieden and Kennedy, the agency that did the work.

They were recently named Ad Agency of the Year. Most say it’s because of their Old Spice work. I think it’s because they still understand what most agencies have long forgotten.

Why agencies exist.

But wait, you’re saying. What about VW’s Darth Vader spot? Didn’t you think that was good? Cute, yes. But let me ask this. We all know it was for Volkswagon, right?

But what model of VW?

Now tell me. Was it good or not?

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