April 13, 2010

The 1st Annual MadAve Courage & Bravery Poll


Question 1: At dinner, what's the best "dish" to order with an angry client?
- 40% The "chicken"
- 60% The "duck"

Introducing the results from the "How well do you know Madison Avenue? poll! As many of you know, earlier this year, we surveyed top industry professionals for their views on the level of bravery and courage it takes to compete on MadAve. A total of 149 respondants shared their insights with us, in this historical 1st annual field research online-based study. This is what we learned!


Question 2: At an awards dinner, what creative theme often gets the "Best of Show"?
- 34%: Profits in real time
- 66%: Prophets in reel time


Question 3: At the pitch, which positioning has a better chance of winning the account?
- 32%: Pop-culture inspired by MadAve culture
- 68%: MadAve culture inspired by pop-culture


Question 4: What makes a brand a leader?
- 37%: Domain
- 63%: Dough/main


Question 5: What keeps media execs up at night?
- 26%: Media buy $$
- 74%: Media bye $$


Question 6: On a story board, what is more important to a client?
- 44%: The meaning
- 56%: The words


Question 7: At the commercial shoot, what's more important to the producer?
- 39%: The "art"
- 61%: The "work"


Question 8: When entertaining your client, should you discuss?
- 66%: "Main Street"
- 37%: "Mane" Street


Question 9: In a tension-filled meeting, which may get you fired?
- 35%: Sucking up
- 65%: Sucking in


Question 10: At "creative" agencies, what does P&L stand for?
- 22%: Profit & Loss
- 78%: Pillaging & Lies

Research Background
Please forgive the tardiness of this research announcement. We hope it will be received as "well worth the wait."

A total of 10 questions were developed to measure factors that influence the entire communications business. The research illuminates several insights and trends found in client service, the creative discipline, strategic planning and tactical media planning, negotiation and stewardship.

Objective analysis leads us to believe it clearly helps understand the commitment Madison Avenue has in maintaining its reputation for both flexibility and adherence to timeless principles. Our interpretation indicates the industry's most notable characteristics will continue well into the 21st century. Further learnings are provided below the survey results.

To all those who participated in the development of this valuable industry benchmark, we thank you. Let's have lunch!

The Editors

Click on link below for additional learnings.


Other Learnings:

Account Management:
The importance of strong leadership has never been more important, especially in this day and age of rapid changes in communication, the advancement of integrated marketing and a wider range of media and technological solutions, now all available to help maintain brand relevance to its consumers. Yet, certain factors are burned into the most classically trained managers such as:
- 1. Recommend 90% share or more of media budget which receives the highest agency commission, for effective concentration.
- 2. Provide a comprehensive analysis of the research conducted on the 3 week "working" Bermuda family vacation relevant for the Idaho potato(e) coop account
- 3. Maintain strict business practices in recruitment and hiring. Provide special considerations to new girlfriends or boyfriends and most importantly prioritize relatives who have many attractive single young female or male friends, to maintain consistency in agency culture

Account Planning
They say everything is derivative. So it takes a truly committed account planner (normally British expats who wear black and funny glasses as well as smoke like a Vermont chimney in the winter) to "eke" out human behavioral trends that provide client brands a platform to truly distinguish themselves from the pack. Three breakthrough examples we’ve heard that are in the pipeline are "Absolute Johnny Walker," "Just Do It, Okay?" by Adidas, "I REALLY love it" by KFC.

Creative Leadership
As blogs feverishly grow, simple misunderstandings can explode into unnessary career-challenging conflicts, as evidenced by Frenchy-related public comments which allegedly were voiced at a creative conference recently. A well-known creative leader who goes by the name "Frenchy" was proported to have made the following statement, "All female creative directors are crap."

However, just recently The Editors were contacted by (FOF) Friends of Frenchy who claim to have certifiable proof that Frenchy was misquoted. We are told that FOF is made up of an independent panel of male, suspender-wearing, cigar smoking, Skull & Crossbones members who are willing to go on record and swear that Frenchy was mis-quoted.

They claim that the mis-quote was largely due to the jet-engine level noise-level in the room from jawboning taking place at the event. Apparently FOF states in reality, Frenchy made the following statement, "All female creative directors are the heart and soul of what makes Madison Avenue great. Anyone who differs is full of crap."

It's our job to bring you a balanced view to this unfortunate incident. You decide.

The sweat hogs who slave under a hot excel sheet while making impartial integrated media plan recommendations (based on reams of truly quality-based databases) are sometimes bewilderingly accused of a quid pro quo between their media buy and various simple media tchotchkes.

One accusation brought to our attention deserves an objective look:

A print buyer made a recommendation he believed was in the best interests of his client, a leading female-based cosmetics firm. The recommendation is based on taking a "compression" strategy approach, calling for placing 143 pages, essentially 100% of the print, TV and outdoor budget in one of the leading (ranked 4th) European Mens Magazines (commonly referred to as “Laddy Boy” pubs), for the all- important Q4’05 selling season.

The sticky wicket is that some (their words: overly jealous) media sales people representing other print vehicles as well as a significant number of TV and Outdoor, (their words: mansy-pansy) types have complained that the buyer is using the $20 million budget for his own benefit.

They point to the coincidental timing between the recommendation and his purchase of London-based flat in the tony KnightsBridge section of town. The brand manager on the client side, who happens to be the buyer’s fiancé feels this type of retributive slander gives the media business a bad name. The magazine in question is no direct family relation to the buyer or brand manager. However, the (their words: spoil-sport) media vehicles, all of whom the buyer states "were seriously considered based on the media objectives" but not selected - point to the fact that magazine sales person was the buyer’s college room mate. The Brand Manager states this has nothing to do with the strategy.

Furthering the tension behind this (their words: strategic) media commitment is the accusation that funds allocated to the pub are helping pay for the $4.7 million 6-bedroom white-stone duplex. In his defence, the print buyer says, "There’s really a simple explanation for this. I went down to Atlantic City and took my entire $1,867.00 savings account and put it all on red at the Roulette table. I did this 127 times straight which netted me the $4.7 million needed to purchase the pad."

Insights Summary
These stories, commonly referred to as "verbatims" in research-speak were collected while we were conducting the online field research. As part of this project, we came across many interesting perspectives and individuals, though one leading agency leader should share thoughts, which we think sums up the bravery and courage found consistently throughout our business:

"Our next generation of Madison Avenue-based leaders - who will likely push us out once we start making way too much money - are in fact real inspirations. It makes me often think of another inspirational roll-model, Whitney Houston and her very insightful words, "I believe that children are our future..."

Pretty much say it all. We look forward to building upon this learning in 2006.

Thank you.

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