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Stunted `integration'

Re: Rance Crain's column "Agencies' narrow definition of `creative' stunts integration" (Viewpoint, AA, June 18): I couldn't agree more.

I am creative director at a midsize Vancouver agency that likes to throw the term "integrated" around quite often. Yes, we in creative do still tend to think we are the magic that makes any campaign or project fly. But we are not naive enough to think that a color magazine spread or big TV campaign is always the answer. We do like to think we are part of group of creative problem solvers who will find workable, trackable solutions.

In fact, our company has taken the word "advertising" out of our name. Telling people we are an "ad agency" is still the quickest, simplest way to give them a snapshot of what we do, but the description is now too narrow, carries too much baggage and at times is just plain incorrect. We are a strategic communications company, and that often leads to developing ads.

But we (including the creative department) are well aware that an "ad" may not be the solution a client needs to answer its particular marketing problem.

I tend to agree with the lament of [Publicis USA's Bob] Bloom-that the problem is rooted in the classic ad agency structure. How can that slow, archaic, suit-driven format be an incubator for real change, cross-discipline creativity and true integration? Does that word really have relevant meaning to agency formats?

At any rate, thanks for the piece and his "harsh" earnestness. It's an important message. Say, maybe we should talk about doing a big TV campaign around it.

bruce fraser

Creative Director

Glennie Stamnes Strategy


A perfect quote

Sometimes you find the perfect quote that summarizes what is wrong with the advertising business. Michael Dweck provides it ("Requiem for a super flyweight," Adages, AA, July 9) when he said that his agency's strategy was to go to "entrepreneurial clients who we thought would buy really good work, and we thought we'd be able to trade up."

This appears to be a candid admission that what many creatives characterize as "good work" does not build brands and sales-if the work was so good, why should Dweck not be able to grow his agency by growing his clients' businesses?

I think the advertising business has gotten into trouble because its practitioners have forgotten that they are in the business of commercial speech (i.e., creating communications that convey the benefits of a product so that somebody will want to buy it), and not entertainment.

Interestingly, [the same issue] contains a perspective on the lost art of agency self-promotion ads ("A proud tradition of house ads," AA, July 9). One of the most successful cited was Young & Rubicam's "Impact" ad-this from an agency that grew by growing with its clients' brands (starting with Postum, the weakest product of one of its clients), not by "trading up" to bigger clients after they got noticed.

The advertising business could start its recovery by focusing on the craft of commercial speech. Then maybe new agencies could grow with their clients and start running ads trumpeting their business impact.

christopher s. miller

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Film vs. video

I enjoyed reading "Digital debate: video vs. film" (Special

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