Whether ameritech corp. succeeds in rewriting the rules of client conflict with its $100 million media buying review remains to be seen. There's a poison pill here that many agencies are unlikely to swallow.
Very generously, Ameritech has let potential contenders for its media work know that, for this review,
it will not limit its choice to conflict-free agencies. It says the door is open to, say, the Chicago office of a multi-office agency even if the New York office handles media for a telecommunciations rival-assuming there's no sharing of competitive information.
There's a potentially prohibitive caveat: All agencies contacted must agree they will not resign the account should they win it, even if they go to work for an Ameritech rival on the creative side. What agency, responsibly managing its business, could agree to a "never" term?
Ameritech's motives here are difficult to divine. The smart money in the ad industry has been betting that the size and number of telecommunications accounts, combined with a dearth of agencies big enough to manage them, would force telcos to rethink traditional conflict rules. Now, extreme optimists see Ameritech's move as opening the door to an eventual easing of conflict policies in other categories as well.
But unraveling conflicts is no easy task. Just ask Bates Worldwide, which, up until its pending split from Cordiant, has seen its new business options pinched by sister agency Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide's work for Procter & Gamble Co. Or Foote, Cone & Belding, which lost its Mazda Motors of America account after parent company True North Communications acquired Bozell Worldwide, a Chrysler Corp. agency.
This Ameritech proposal, for all its seeming good will, is thus a tad mean-spirited in the new restrictive terms it proposes. A client may suggest, or even tell, an agency what it cannot pursue-but to contractually bind it to those terms smacks of servitude. If Ameritech really wants to break new ground, it should drop those restrictions.M
he media are there, certainly. But have the actual ads aimed at women followed the times? Not necessarily, according to this issue's look at the subject.
Women make up more than 50% of today's ad agency workforce, but their representation in creative departments is lower than that-often much lower. Among larger agencies, it ranges from a high of 46% in the creative department at Wells BDDP,
New York, to 8% at Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, according to Creativity, our sister publication. Percentages in the 20s are far more normal, Creativity found.
"Historically, men have had success in selling to women," said Caryn Wiley-Rapoport, president of Wiley & Associates, Westlake Village, Calif., in our story, "but the world has changed and women have changed." So the call is out for women creatives to help marketers make sure their ads truly appeal to women. Even today, said Judy Minard, principal in a successful, female-owned ad agency, "there is so much portrayal of women as the victim, object or ditz."
Some agencies, like Fallon McElligott, actively seek female creative talent and see practically no candidates, according to Creativity. And women coming into the business are not staying for an entire career. To change this, agency managements need to make sure promising women creatives are not penalized for interrupting careers (for motherhood, for example) and, just as important, that creative managers run their departments in such a way that women don't feel like