"You can't be great with 10,500 people on a regular basis," Mr.
Draft said. "Size does matter on controlling the product you put
out, if I'm looking to make money."
Mr. Stewart said he would want an agency that had more time to
create great work. Ms. Batten said she is pretty much doing the
hypothetical now at Victors & Spoils, which is only 16 months
old. And Mr. McGuinness said if money wasn't a concern he would be
much pickier about which reviews he participated in, and noted that
the ad industry doesn't stand up enough to unfair compensation
He went on to note that "unfortunately" his company isn't
independent -- a surprising statement considering Interpublic CEO
Michael Roth was in the room.
At the start of the discussion, Ms. Gallop basically begged the
panelists to be controversial, and they obliged. The claws came out
-- even among the sibling shops under the same holding company.
In one particularly heated moment during the session, this was
the exchange: "What I see is a lot of frustration by clients, and
what's more concerning to me is clients trying to figure it out on
their own with huge budget pressures," said Ms. Batten, noting that
agencies should consider whether they are keeping up with the pace
of change in the industry.
Mr. Draft: "Why are you blaming the agencies? I would blame the
clients. ... Everybody talks about procurement, but fuck
procurement. ... I don't think the clients are structured in such a
way today to work with the agencies. ... Just like we built siloed
agencies ... they have all these different departments that work
with different agencies that don't communicate with each other. The
agencies are willing to change, but are clients going to change
fast enough to do what's right for them?"
Mr. McGuinness: "I love the fact that Howard hired a CEO and now
he's blaming all the clients."
The execs were surprisingly honest, too. Asked what percentage
of work that came out of the agency in the last year was truly
great creative work, they all said less than 50%. Mr. McGuinness
said 45%, Ms. Batten said 30%, Mr. Duff said 20% to 25%, and Mr.
Draft said only 20%.