The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Give Me Something To Believe In …
July 20, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Over the years of this blog, I’ve written a bunch of stuff about ad agencies.




But among the rabble, there’s been a few where I’ve celebrated when an agency has taken a stance about it’s own standards and beliefs.

There was the classic ad Chiat Day put out after losing a pitch.

Or the AMV internal memo that was sent out to stop forgetting the standards of work.

Or the ‘revolution’ manifesto that HHCL wrote when they were in their pomp, punk prime.

Or the time we destroyed cynic’s cash cow to allow us to rebuild the company we loved.

But what is interesting with all these things is they appear after they realized they’d undermined their greatest weapon – their creativity – in a bid to be more profitable or to win another client or to keep a present client happy.

No bitching about clients.

No throwing stones at the competition.

A moment of self-reflection that offered scary clarity.

Of course money makes the World go round, but the older I get the more I realize that the moment you don’t care how you get it or what you spend it on means the quality of work commences its downhill trajectory. And while that doesn’t mean an agency will go bust [there’ll always be clients who choose price over quality] it does mean they will see their greatest talent walk out the door. And then, when that happens, you have lost all your value and been reduced to ‘supplier’ status.

Over the years there have been agencies who have realized this and fought against it.

Not just the oldies that I’ve mentioned above, but some of the new and exciting like Droga5 and Adam & Eve.

And lets not forget my beloved Wieden+Kennedy who – despite the odd wobble – fight for their lives to retain their standards and values in all they do.

But the thing is few actually come out and say they realized they made a mistake anymore.

Everything is kept inside their four walls and the only way you know something happened is through the work they then go on to create.

To be fair, that’s probably the wisest response but there is something powerful in someone acknowledging their faults and how they are going to make changes that move them forward.

For me that honesty is liberating. Exciting.

The reason for all this is that I recently read an ad that Fallon put out years and years ago.

It’s different to what I’ve talked about in this post because it wasn’t about where they had fucked up, but more about who they were going to be, because this ad talks about their philosophy … a philosophy that was the foundation of some of the best advertising ever produced.

If they put that out today – even if I didn’t know anything about them – I’d want to work for them, because while the proof of the pudding is in the eating, we shouldn’t forget most people want someone or something to believe in.

[Read it properly here]


34 Comments so far
Leave a comment

best copy agency in america for a good fucking while.

Comment by andy@cynic

or they were when when fallon was actually fucking fallon, not this holding company bitch theyve become.

Comment by andy@cynic

When Fallon was spelt McElligott.

Comment by George

Poor Pat Fallon.

Comment by DH

I meant in terms of writing power. The others were phenomenal too.

Comment by George

nice fucking save.

Comment by andy@cynic

Fallon were great back then. I remember reading how Pat Fallon loved going to the printer because there he would see all the ideas his agency people were coming up with. But yes, McElligott added that extra something and to be reminded of that, here’s 2 things you might want to check out:



Comment by Rob

and now youre being helpful. who the fuck are you?

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s my days entertainment sorted. Thank you.

Comment by George

i like this post. fuck you for making me give a shit campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Best comment ever.

Comment by Rob

When agencies made sense and money.

Comment by DH

That just about sums it up perfectly Dave.

Comment by Rob

What a enjoyable read Robert. Thank you.

Comment by Lee Hill

Very good read. I’d like to think you would have flourished in the original Fallon…would have been interesting to see you in a tie.
I wish more places would be honest with themselves about the kind of place they are, or at least with potential employees

Comment by northern

i dont know what the fuck youve been up to but anyone that thinks campbell would have flourished at the original fallon is a fucking mental.

Comment by andy@cynic

What has Fallon done to deserve that?

Comment by DH

Where have you been Northern? I’ve missed you … don’t worry, I mean it in both a nice and plutonic way.

And that’s very kind of you, though I know you only said it because the idea of me in a tie makes you happy … though I don’t think they’d of hired me, because even if I was in a tie, I think they’d say no to the birkies.

Comment by Rob

If Birkenstock did brogues you’d be well away
Please tell me you’ve bought on of those weird sofas

Comment by northern

If that appeared today, they’d be rightly criticised for aspiring to the advertising of white men (I wonder if they were back in 1981) and the whole thing would be overshadowed by a Twitter discussion of what’s going on in Fred’s trousers.

Comment by John

Which would be a shame as the manifesto is a good one.

Comment by John

Sadly I agree. That doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the issue of equality, just that sometimes that’s become the dominating factor rather than the quality. [Though I also appreciate that has often been an excuse for lack of it]

Comment by Rob

What happened to Fallon is why Dan Wieden refuses to sell.

I’d love to hear how you are finding working for a holding company Rob, especially having come from Wieden.

Comment by Bazza

Good point Baz.

As for the difference between independence and holding company? Yes, it’s very different, but I knew that when I was deciding to take the job. Ironically, the fact Deutsch only has 2 offices was a big thing to me because it meant it had more of a ‘independent’ approach than a massive network.

That said, the difference between a company owned by a holding company and one owned by itself is huge and I genuinely miss the freedom it affords you … but holding company ownership doesn’t automatically mean your creative opportunities are dead … but it does mean you have to work harder to maybe make them happen.

So far I’m enjoying the challenge … it’s what I wanted … but I also appreciate being a partner in a relatively small [though big as an office] company gives me a different frame of reference than many others. Which is why I believe part of my job is to help shape the company [and the clients] to enable everyone to have the space and time they need to create great work, because ultimately that’s will be beneficial to everyone, even if many of the holding company ‘gods’ find that idea counter to their views. [Hence it’s a race between me pulling it off and then firing me, ha!]

Comment by Rob

I work for Omnishanbles, I officially cannot comment on this post anymore now you’ve brought holding companies into it

Comment by northern

Honest as ever Robert.

Comment by George

Bet the holding company gods wanted to fire you before you were hired. That’s the best compliment I could give.

Comment by DH

youll still be back at wieden. mark my fucking words.

Comment by andy@cynic

I bet the chaos Dan Wieden loves has fallen 99% since Rob left.

Comment by DH

I think the chaos I bring to an organisation is different to the chaos Dan likes to bring to his organisation. 7 years of me taught him that.

Comment by Rob

you broke him. thats why youll be fucking back.

Comment by andy@cynic

probably on even more cash you jammy fucking bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

I bet Dan just thinks Rob’s on another holiday..

Comment by northern

I think he still works for Wiedens and has been sent to LA to bring down the competition.

Comment by John

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