Ad Age has gone all Lady Gaga over a new – and what looks like a rushed – “analysis” from Forrester on the (if I hear this one more time I’ll puke) “future of agency relationships.” I do not even know where to begin on this one.
Let’s start with this – the beauty of advertising and marketing is that no one can actually, really figure them out. No one can tell you why something worked in the past, nor what to expect today, never mind tomorrow. Anyone who writes a report with “future” and “agency” in the same headline has a 100% chance of being wrong.
Well OK, you might say, but this is Forrester, the number one cross-media research firm. Doesn’t that hold some water?
Like a colander.
Forrester’s brand credibility is stretched tighter than tight when it comes to ad industry assertions, and this particular report leaves some tell-tale indicators.
The easiest thing a reader can do, and should do, is Google the profiles of the lead researchers. For this report, you’ll see one guy with mostly interactive media experience, one with PR experience, and one with no agency experience at all. Taking us back to advertising circa 1840 (I am not making this up) makes this look like a high-school research paper.
The number of subject matter experts from the client and agency side on which this analysis was based was ridiculously small. Of the 18 client-side folks contacted, at least four were admitted former CMOs. Like a prisoner serving as a character witness.
Swiss Cheese Constructs
In an attempt to compare and contrast different agency types, as they exist NOW, not as they might look IN THE FUTURE, the authors gave Interactive and PR agencies full credit for the task of channel planning. How is that possible, when each deals with a single channel? Further, how does an ad agency get the same exact rating for “technology” that a direct marketing agency does?
There was none. A dozen mashed-up pages of recommendations, arguments, observations, and non sequitur quotes. You’ll feel like you just stepped off the Tilt-a-Whirl.
Sample passage: “Consumers don’t want to be ‘targeted’ as an audience — they want to participate.” Complete and absolute bullshit.
Twelve pages of gibberish. Ad Age ran with the story anyway, with the usual “Great post!” comments right behind.
Personally, I’d much prefer the box of chocolates.