The Follies continue from yesterday:

4.   The ad industry has been particularly hard hit by the economy.  Picking off clients of other agencies while hardly a new sport, has become “more of a blood sport these days” as the “stakes have never been higher”.  Many former execs have opened up their own small/smaller shops and have intimate knowledge of the screw ups and blunders made by other typically larger, agencies.  They attempt to use and highlight those mistakes in their pitches to prospective clients in a dare I say, brazen effort to steal clients away from the large agencies.

5.  Failures by agencies to copyright register aspects of campaigns are common even if they are obligated to do so by contract .  Competitors have wised up and now check the government site to see if registrations which could or should have been made, were in fact made by their competitor agencies and/or their clients.  They then use any such failures when they pitch that client.  Better for the agency weaseling its way in if client has grounds to sue the former ad agency for such failure(s).

6.  Total ignorance by ad agency employees of ongoing government investigations, industry codes, administrative statutes and state/federal laws as they apply to (especially) alcohol, pharmaceuticals and consumer products which involve risk of personal injury.  This goes in tandem with the failure to submit certain layouts or presentations to in house counsel for approval prior to presentation or actual use.

7. Ageism.  Many current top people in power at ad agencies from sea to shining sea are gasp under the age of 40 or even 30.  With the massive layoffs in the industry, experienced former execs who are now aged 50 – 70 who traditionally were present to supervise agency activity, are now on unemployment lines.  Major accounts are being run by people who may be very talented creatively speaking, but are woefully inexperienced on the business end.  There are no mentors for the young turks to turn to for advice in house and calling a rival agency is clearly out of the question.  There is frequently no senior person to put the brakes on a bad idea, spot a mistake, staunch a lawsuit in the making or just plain kill all or a portion of a campaign. Ed said as he often does, “You can’t teach experience” the ex ad man’s wistful reply here was, “Don’t trust anyone under 40”.

8.  A multi year, very successful iconic fashion campaign costing many millions of dollars ran in magazines with in store tie ins.  Same agency presides over campaign for several years.  Campaign ends.  New and less effective campaign runs for 2 years. Client decides to do retro ads inclusive of imagery used in the initial campaign.  Photographer of initial campaign is dead and there is no estate. Several of the models are “in the wind” and not findable or identifiable.  No model releases are in the possession of the agency (they told photographer to get and keep them) nor did agency ever obtain any license from photographer for any prospective use.  Client fires agency.  Agency too stupid to keep copies of model releases nor obtain a longer licensing period for the initial photography.  The false assumption that fashion always becomes obsolete or dated in 6 – 12 months was likely the root cause of the agency’s incompetence.

Cover your own butt because an ad agency – even a big one – may have Beavis and Butthead in charge.