CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/INDUSTRY ADVERTISING - Why getting the message across is just as important for agencies

Advertising and media agencies don’t advertise their services very often, but Channel 4’s broadcast of the top 100 ads last Bank Holiday weekend inspired both Zenith Media and OMD UK to get their thinking caps on and come up with a TV commercial.

Advertising and media agencies don’t advertise their services very

often, but Channel 4’s broadcast of the top 100 ads last Bank Holiday

weekend inspired both Zenith Media and OMD UK to get their thinking caps

on and come up with a TV commercial.



And what a good idea it was. You could predict that a disproportionately

high number of people who work in advertising and media, as well as some

marketers, were likely to tune in. The clever placement of the ads for

companies whose function it is to place ads cleverly was, well,

clever.



Both ads used similar straplines. Zenith’s was ’we put ads in all the

right places’, while OMD used ’the right message to the right

people’.



Claire Bugler, Zenith’s planning director, says the sloppy style of the

Zenith ad was deliberate. ’It was a bit of fun. We wanted to make the

point that we don’t make ads but we know where to put them,’ she

says.



Mark Dickenson, OMD’s marketing director, said he wanted the ad to run

because he knew the audience would include existing and potential

clients and because the timing was perfect as the agency is in the

process of changing its name from BMP OMD.



But such ads are rare. Although most agencies take their marketing

seriously, it’s only for special occasions that they use above-the-line

advertising.



Paul Simons, now the chairman of the Ogilvy Group, remembers the loaves

and fishes ad for Gold Greenlees Trott which ran in the marketing press

in 1983. He says he saw the ad and decided to join the agency.



Other agencies take out trade press ads for special occasions. Last week

Leagas Delaney had double-page ads in Campaign, Marketing and Marketing

Week, telling readers it had won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise.



Simons thinks the reason why so few agencies create ads for themselves

is that it’s hard to make great ads for a service industry and anything

short of a great ad from a company whose job is to make great ads is not

a good idea.



’Any service business is difficult to advertise because the things we

want to say are complicated. Very few agencies have a single-minded

positioning.



It doesn’t do justice to what we do as a business. There’s a danger of

being too shallow,’ Simons says.



Even so, he still believes that it is important for agencies to market

themselves. ’We have to get out of our own village. Many people are in

danger of believing their own propaganda. It’s always a salutory lesson

when you meet clients for the first time and you discover how little

they know about the industry,’ he says.



Agencies put a lot of effort into their profile in the press. Simons

says: ’The most valuable thing in terms of awareness and influence is

strong PR. It implies a third-party endorsement.’



The ad industry is so well served by the trade press and, more recently,

has moved much higher up the agenda in the national press that PR is a

valuable tool. It’s also a lot cheaper than advertising, but don’t tell

any clients that.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).