Advertising Isn’t That Easy

So I saw this piece in The New York Post. Another agency bites the dust. Or did they just drink their own brand of luxury Kool-Aid and die?

This got me thinking about the current trend in cool, hip ad shops that are headed by talent that didn’t come up through the ranks of an agency, or even within a business – but that individual’s sheer awesomeness in other arenas (quite literally), and a whole lotta cash placed them smack-dab in the middle of decision-making that involves critical client direction and the lives (and incomes) of staff.

It’s all about disruption these days. (Another word that should retire.)

I wonder if any of those re-purposed stars give a shit.

As we always do – especially after The Boom – Cash may be King, but knowing what the hell you’re doing makes a difference.

Do you remember. .  . burn rate?

Being an athletic star does not an ad executive make. Visibility, profile, and cash really help when you’re starting a business. It’s easy to burn through cash. It’s much harder to convert it into more cash.

That’s the purpose of cash. It is an investment so you (and everyone around you) make more. And stay in business.

So you’re a star on the ice, or the field, or the court or OMG! the mega concert hall, and you (or your hangers-on, oops good friends) think that immediately translates into running an organization effectively; giving clients what they need while satisfying their wants, all while caring about how to make the next buck?

Running a business can be learned. But hubris is the swiftest path to bankruptcy. You have to be willing to learn.

None of what’s going on right now makes sense. And that leads me to think that there are people who have no business being in the ad business. Just like there were “investors” who had no business investing in complex mortgage-backed securities. And remember when was a “viable” business model?

Then I read Ad Contrarian’s post today, which (as always) says it succinctly:

“Dilettantism: When dabblers get involved in an industry, it is generally not a good sign. You could sense the dotcom crash was coming when you were standing in line at the supermarket and the check-out clerks were talking about their tech stocks. We now have big shots working in the online channel who are proud to say they have no knowledge of, and no interest in, advertising.”

If you’re a die-hard hockey fan, and know all the rules, are you qualified to get on the ice for the Stanley Cup?

I rest my case.