Whoring gets a new face…

A few days ago, I got together with some friends at a Colombo watering hole and after shooting the shit on various subjects, someone brought up the subject of advertising (So what’s new right?). Being in the industry myself, we were soon in a very animated discussion as to where the local industry seemed to be heading.

His firm conviction was the entire local industry has turned into a money making machine with absolutely no self respect whatsoever. And I have to admit, after looking around and speaking to some others, I agree with him. Everything today seems to be about the bottom line. While I do understand that all agencies are primarily businesses, I don’t understand why we have to stoop to such low levels in order to make a profit.

It was at this point, that my friend claimed that all the local agencies, bar none, behave in the exact same manner when first given a job by a new client. And it is this behaviour that has set the trend in Sri Lanka. To prove this he gave me an example that broke through the alcohol induced fuzziness and has stuck in my mind like a leech.

Friend: “If you were to take a girl out for a movie on your first date, would you try to be funny with her?”

Me: “Of course not!”

Friend: “What would your reaction be, if she made a move on you, and in fact gave you a blow job right there in the cinema?”

Me: “Fucking brilliant!!” (This was of course followed by many fairly lewd comments from the other people present, which will not be repeated here)

Friend: “The next time you take her out would you try to get something more out of her?

Me: “Hell ya!”

Friend: “But honestly, would you ever seriously respect her as an individual with values?”

Me: “No….” (Grudgingly)

Friend: “So why do you expect any of our clients to treat us with any respect?”

Basically what he was trying to say was, we as an industry have the habit of literally going down on our knees and blowing off our clients as hard as we can. Now, the client who came to us expecting us to have some sort of values and morals, looks at us in a whole new light. After all, if we’re willing to blow him for a vacancy ad, maybe he can push us into spreading our legs for the promise of a little more business!

Unfortunately, it seems to work every time. Day after day, I’ve seen examples of the industry just lying back and letting the client right royally fuck up everything we’ve worked on for countless hours! And somehow, the fact that the client is paying for it, seems to justify it!

I mean, would you pull your pants down and bend over the nearest chair just because someone offered to pay for the privilege of buggering you? I highly doubt it. So why then can’t the people “in charge” of this industry behave the same way when it comes to work?

I feel the time is right for this industry to get some self respect and actually do the job we’re supposed to do, instead of letting the clients tell us what they want us to do. We’re supposed to be the experts, so why do we let someone else tell us how to do our job?

So the question remains, do we want to be known as top notch advertising professionals or just cheapo whores, who are a dime a dozen?


9 Responses to “Whoring gets a new face…”

  1. horus Says:

    The ad industry is whoring coz they have simply forgotton how important client servicing is!!! Creative directors do not sell ideas. Client servicing does. All agencies forget this. Mini skirts and stunning legs do not sell ideas for long. Get a good client service dept and that, I swear, will be the last time you have to blow a client.

  2. thekillromeoproject Says:

    I’m not too sure if that will work as a cure all for the problems that are plaguing the local industry. I definitely agree with you that it is client service that sells the ideas, but even the best client service guy can’t get the job done if the right attitude doesn’t exist at the top.

    That is my main grouse. The people at the top are too busy trying to milk as much money out of the client to see what’s happening to the industry.

  3. David Blacker Says:

    I don’t know about the agencies you guys work in, but in every agency I ever worked for Creatives sold their own ideas. Servicing usually had a powerpoint presentation (one line on each slide) and usually took half an hour to start up the laptop.

    As for the bottom line, it’s always been the most important thing to management. It’s just that ten years ago it was easier to get to the bottom line without blow jobs, so agency heads could be arrogant. Today, show some attitude and your client’s off to the brothel. The days when the wife could cook and raise the kids are gone. Now she better be able to give head like the best of ’em.

    Finally, some clients expect a bj on the first date.

  4. d Says:

    The word ‘Free Economy’ gives rise to anyone operating a business to concentrate on sustainability.
    In CMB the amount of ‘ad agencies’ keeps increasing on a regular basis. No longer ‘fly by night’ the smaller agencies do have sustainable clients and low overheads give them the opportunity to offer the same level of service at low cost.
    Prostitution and Advertising are two of the oldest professions in the world. In Sri Lanka both are saturated and therefore ‘BJ’s’ now come cheap.

    “What do I get for $10, everything you want”

    In the west the consumer despite all the laws to protect them get screwed royally.

    – If an ad runs on TV offering you a free magazine, in calling they collect all your info and then also try to sell you a years subscription.

    – Every single day their is an offer on TV; mobile phones, cable packages, cheaper broadband etc,. etc…
    When actually inquiring into it you are tied into an airtight contract for at least 18 months.

    – Everybody is out to screw you and get your personal info. Even when trawling pawn, they identify your IP address and you get bombarded with area specific spam.

    – The X-Factor/Pop Idol – A bunch of mostly teenagers get tricked into entering what is not more than a program manipulated by the judges to build their own ego’s. While destroying any self-respect the contestants have.

    – The amount of junk mail one receives is beyond comprehension. Those who cry for the environment never have anything to say to this.

    The examples I can give you go on and on and on.

    This is part and parcel of a ‘Free Economy’.

    Supply is greater than demand. So clients hold the key.

    Consumers get buggered.

    Ad agency employee’s get buggered.

    The clients and agency owners drive sustainable businesses.

    However, this is not always the case. Few and far between there are agencies who do contribute to the welfare of their employee’s too and give them global exposure.

    I think Arosha is an excellent example. Last time I heard he was a Group Account Director in China!!! Kudo’s to him!

    I have said this before, unless you have a life outside of advertising, working in the industry becomes extremely difficult.

    It’s ironic that just at the same time I want back in to Colombo, the industry people are so sick of the industry itself.

    Of course, other than the one’s who are making enough money.

    Davy, good account management usually go 30 minutes earlier to Clients office or wherever they will present and set up. Then the minute everyone who is at the meeting has settled down they don’t fiddle around with wires they get on with defending and justifying the strategy and open it out for creative to get on with their stuff.

    So maybe good account management can/do make a difference. Especially if their agency don’t throw them off the deep end but train them on the advertising process.

    I would think as one of CMB’s most experienced creative, people such as you have an important role to play in this process.

    But Pauly seriously, get off the wild horse, stop the presses, it’s a business, nothing else, nothing more.

    “Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.”
    Kahlil Gibran

  5. d Says:

    PS: I Love You!

  6. jamfruit Says:

    Can you explain what you mean by ‘whoring’ in the advertising industry. From the blow job analogy I understand the agencies are behaving badly but what exactly do they do? After you have spent many hours doing stuff they come and look at it and say you should change it in a way that seems downright ugly? So all the work you have done is wasted because they have such poor taste? And you agree because that is your customer but it then spoils your name because the ads turn out to be rubish? Is this what you meant?

  7. Pink Mist Says:

    Have you seen the series ‘Mad Men’? Its about the ad industry in New York during the 60s. Beautiful!


  8. thekillromeoproject Says:

    What I meant was that most agencies are willing to do anything the client asks for just because it makes them money.

    Whether the client’s request makes good advertising / communication sense seems to be totally ignored.

    This is very much the way a street walker would be willing to do anything as long as ‘the john’ is paying for it.

    Does that make better sense?

  9. jamfruit Says:

    Oh thanks for explaining it. I understand. That’s tough indeed. You can only tell them “OK we can do it that way if that’s what you really want, But from our experience we think you would get much better response and much more customers if you do this way…” But if they don’t listen then it is up to them isn’t it? At least you are not doing anything immoral to please your customers.

    Because I have heard about really dirty tricks like people bribing insiders to get contracts and business from their customers. And I have even heard about people actually hiring highly paid ‘professionals'(the oldest profession of course) for business purposes. At least what you are doing isn’t that bad.

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