It's fair to say that advertising's contribution to our clients' growth and profit is undervalued by consultants, by financial professionals, by procurement executives, by companies themselves and perhaps, even by us. The prevailing view is that the service agencies provide is a commodity, and a soft cost to be relentlessly cut instead of an investment capable of yielding high returns. This in turn poses a serious threat to the industry's continued ability to deliver the caliber of creativity and service our clients need to grow their businesses.
Michael Farmer details this reality in his book "Madison Avenue Manslaughter." Farmer notes that the price we get paid for what we do has been declining for more than 20 years to the point that we're now getting paid less than half as much as consultants. This reduction in industry revenue makes it difficult for agencies to compete for the quality of talent needed to create the kind of magic that transforms brands and leads to exponential growth and profit for clients.
Can a consultancy give an old brand new life and double its sales in a year, as Wieden & Kennedy did for Old Spice?