The leader of Britain’s agency trade body was accused at the
conference of having lost touch with reality by advocating a return to
the commission system.
Graham Hinton, president of the Institute of Practitioners in
Advertising, was taken to task along with Andrew Robertson, the Abbott
Mead Vickers BBDO managing director, for failing to understand what was
happening in the market.
The double broadside was fired by Michael Wall, the Fallon McElligott
It was sparked by Hinton’s claim in Campaign (12 February) that no
payment by results system was superior to commission for remunerating
agencies and Robertson’s rubbishing of the perceived threat of
management consultants to agencies’ business.
Robertson said: ’Consumers don’t change their behaviour because of a
strategy dreamed up by a management consultant. They change behaviour
because of ads.’
But Wall told delegates: ’What both these viewpoints are indicative of
is a resistance to understanding the prevailing market conditions and
the product and service we offer in them.’
Wall claimed the ’defensiveness’ of both executives was a direct result
of advertising’s recent history. ’I don’t believe its role or validity
was ever really questioned until the start of this decade when the
recession started to bite, expenditure declined, people got fired and
immediate results were mandatory.’
And he accused agencies of trying to justify themselves by establishing
spurious points of difference rather than submerging all their efforts
into building clients’ brands whatever the economic climate.
’Building a brand has become defined by agencies as the preserve of
long-term activity and achieved through a 90-second commercial,’ he
said. ’And clients have fuelled this because they have used their
agencies as suppliers of ads, not as partners.’