First it was Mother and Mountain View. Now an agency called Spirit
has arrived to press its claim for recognition with an agenda to match
its New Age name. Forget multinational networks whose high costs belie
an inability to deliver international campaigns effectively, Spirit’s
What’s needed, they claim, is centrally sourced creative work with an
in-built strategy that recognises different cultures rather than having
it force-fitted into local markets. The people at Spirit have a point
The structure of the traditional global network isn’t conducive to
coherent advertising that has to run across dozens of countries.
It encourages internal politicking about who should do the work and who
should place it. And it demotivates creatives employed to generate ideas
but who are reduced to tweaking those dreamed up by others often
thousands of miles away.
In a world where communication grows ever more sophisticated, there are
fewer excuses for this to happen. Multinational clients are rebuilding
their international operations around a handful of key markets. So too
are some of the world’s hitherto most conservative agency networks.
All the evidence suggests Spirit’s offering is right for the times, but
despite having the well-connected Michael Dobbs to open doors for it,
the going may be tough - not least because of the decline in available
international business caused by globalisation and merger mania among
That said, not all the clients who need global work have the money or
the inclination to go with the big leaguers.