In a story this morning, Campaign US is reporting that morale in the U.S. ad industry is dropping faster than panties on prom night.
Here are some stats from the report:
- In 2015, the percent of people working in advertising who rated their morale as "low" or "dangerously low" was 34%. This year it has fallen to 47%
- This is a drop in morale of 36% in just one year
- 63% of the people with low morale said they are actively looking for a new job.
- By far the number one reason for low morale -- at 73% -- was "company leadership."
- Almost 60% of clients in a recent report said they were planning to do an agency search this year
- The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) says that unscrupulous financial practices among agencies is "pervasive."
- Almost 3/4 of marketers say they are dissatisfied with the state of online advertising
While alarming, I'm afraid it's not surprising.
Under the "leadership" of the financial sharpies, lawyers, and accountants who now control the agency holding companies, the advertising business has become a confused and chaotic mess.
A business that valued ideas and creativity above all else is now a pig's breakfast of insufferable bullshit, dreadful jargon, stupid gimmicks, and amateur bumblers producing horrific crap.
Morale has dropped because standards have dropped. Standards have dropped because the "leaders" of our industry don't know what business they're in.
In a recent talk I said that wherever I go in the world I hear the same two things:
"Advertising isn't as effective as it once was, and advertising isn't as creative as it once was. It's hard for me to believe that these two things aren't related."It's also hard for me to believe that the precipitous drop in morale isn't also related.
The holding company model has been a disaster for our industry. Their obsession with data and metrics is simply a misdirection strategy by bewildered awkward behemoths that can't produce good work.
We have reached such a level of effete absurdity that maintaining that the central business of ad agencies is to produce good ads is now controversial.
There is only one hope. It is for marketers to wake up and remind the agency aristocrats what they're getting paid for - great advertising, and nothing less. All the rest is footnotes.
Until marketers insist that their agency's first, second and third priorities are to create great ads, the level of satisfaction across the ad industry will continue to plummet, and the advertising business will continue to degenerate.