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November 2, 2010 / davebirss

Blowing trumpets

Over the years I’ve worked in just about every area of the industry, from TV advertising to graphic design to direct mail to digital, and one thing I’ve noticed is that everyone wants to take credit for any success their client has.

I was talking to the MD of a digital agency last week who told me a story about the astounding arrogance of an above-the-line creative director (having been one, I feel I have every right to point the finger at this breed of arsehole-ism). When they were discussing the huge (and measurable) success of an involving digital campaign, the douchebag commented “well, *you* know and *I* know that the real success of the digital work came from people watching the TV ad online”. Ehm, really? That wasn’t what the site stats said.

It’s like the stuff I read in awards entries where individual agencies take credit for “a 17% rise in sales” or “a 43% increase in awareness”. I’ve seen DM agencies, ad agencies and various other marketing disciplines take full credit for exactly the same results.

The truth is, when the client is spending money on a campaign, they are usually also spending it on other activities too. Like merchandising, a bigger sales push, promotions and coupons. And surely these activities can take some of the credit too.

So is there a solution to this desire to take credit?

Have I come up with a clever way forward for the industry to work together in peace, love and understanding?


I’d just have a lot more respect for agencies that share credit and encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. Or at least ones that didn’t pretend – or worse, believe – that they’re the ones who did all the good stuff all by themselves with nobody else’s help.

And I’m sure a lot of clients would agree.

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