It's taken an anonymous advertiser in this week's issue to nail Ruskin's sentiment to the predicament facing the advertising industry. "When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do."
You get what you pay for. In this business and every other.
I can tell you two things about this ad. It was conceived by an extremely wise, experienced and well-respected advertising practitioner. He has no wish to be identified, but feels passionately that the industry deserves to be paid a fair price for the service it delivers. And he paid (personally) the going rate for a full-page ad in Campaign. Of course.
I've written a lot about agencies being complicit in the erosion of the industry base rate, agencies that desperately under-price themselves and everyone else and are bringing the whole industry down with them.
But the ad on page 11 is placed "in the interests of all suppliers everywhere"
and it's the smaller, entrepreneurial companies towards the bottom of the advertising food chain that inevitably end up feeling the pain most. Yet if those companies at the bottom can no longer afford to invest in supporting the best talent or taking creative risks or developing new technologies, everyone else further up the advertising food chain will suffer.
As an aside, I heard that one of the proud winners of a big IPA Effectiveness gong this week has been putting excruciating and unreasonable financial pressure on its advertising suppliers. I hope it's not true, and I hope that those suppliers who have driven real growth on behalf of that client have refused to roll over if it is. I'm not sure what effect our mystery advertiser hopes to achieve with his ad about cost and value, but I do know that it's vital we keep the issue at the top of the agenda. And that more people put their money where their mouth is.
The past few days have been a confusion of hearsay about the YouView pitch. On 21 October, we ran a story that CHI had won the creative business ... because it had. Now the account's been handed to Adam & Eve. There are so many stories about why, from nepotism to a "first year for nothing" pledge to a U-turn on creative credentials to the sudden emergence of conflict concerns. I know that CHI would have done a brilliant integrated job for YouView. And I know that Adam & Eve will do a brilliant job for YouView. But I know that this ended up being a lengthy and costly pitch concluding with a couple of weeks of painful and embarrassing farce that reflects badly on the client and on the entire process.