Are Ad Agencies All on the Same Team?

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NOELLE WEAVER: Last week while on vacation, I had the fortunate experience of attending the Formula 1 Grand Prix race at Silverstone, England. The race, which traditionally is held in July, was moved to June this year and as luck would have it, the day before the race when drivers qualify for their position on the track, was also the day that England played their opening match against Paraguay in the World Cup tournament.

Picture if you will, over 30,000 people in attendance for the day-before event. By 3:00 previous world champion Alonso Fernando had taken pole position on the track and the football game (soccer if you will) was about to begin. About 15,000 eager fans and onlookers rushed to entirely take over 9 English countryside fields that had been equipped by the Silverstone track with large screen TVs. Turquoise, red, blue and white F1 jerseys sat in the sweltering heat [85+ degrees; hot this time of year for rainy England] – everyone had put aside their differences and come together to cheer on their country and team.

It’s hard to describe here how both of these events were so different from any sporting event I have ever attended here in the states except maybe to say that this race and football game was not simply a matter of winning or losing, it wasn’t overly competitive and no one was against ‘the other guy’ in a callous or malicious way. Whether it was to cheer on a driver, a team, a car manufacturer or perhaps even an entire country, they had simply come to the event as the ‘Silverstone family’ to have an absolutely amazing time and enjoy watching some great skills by drivers and players and strategy by the teams.

As I reflected on this day it occurred to me that this was an incredible lesson for our own industry. I’ve been reading a lot of posts on other blogs and social networking sites and have come to realize that there’s a lot of bickering, name calling and finger pointing that goes on in our industry these days. It’s frustrating to see an exchange of insults over what’s wrong vs. an exchange of smart ideas on how to improve.

Big or small. City or small town. Strategic or creative. Traditional or non-traditional. Media, creative or online. It seems that we’ve gotten mighty competitive and critical of ourselves. Sure advertising isn’t what it used to be, the bottom line has become more important and it’s getting harder and harder to find the ‘crazy ones’, but let’s be honest with ourselves -- things change, businesses change and so do the ideas that matter to the consumer.

Maybe it’s time, instead of going head-to-head in competitive battles to remember the reason we’re here and as a collective group, put aside our differences to examine what we have in common and and cheer on the future of the entire team.
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