Opinions - Why do creative agencies all talk the same?


by John Fountain

 *I'll wager that if you visit any creative agency's website and go to the "About" page you'll find that, though the pictures and design might be poles apart, the words themselves will all be pretty much the same.

Which is weird when you think about it. Because if creative agencies have one single purpose it is to be different, distinct and unique. Yet bizarrely they all fail big time when it comes to describing themselves.



Here are the ten things agencies are most likely to say about themselves:

  • We are full service

  • We offer comprehensive solutions

  • We provide great ideas

  • We are results oriented

  • We use an integrated marketing approach

  • We have a wide range of experience

  • We are strategic

  • We have great chemistry

  • We provide you with our best people

  • We have award winning creative

Now all this duplication must cause creative firms a problem. If everyone offers the same it leads a client to assume everyone thinks the same. One agency is no different to another. All are much of a muchness. And for a creative business that's not a great place to be.

So what do agencies do? Do these creative minds try and break out of the formula? Do they re-write the rule book? Do they look at it from a different perspective? No. For many agencies the answer is come up with some buzzwords and manufacture some bullshit. And lay it on thick.

Our ultimate objective is to make our clients more profitable. Bullshit, creative agencies don't make the product, they don't research the product and nor do they price the product. All they can do is make people aware of the product. Or are you actually saying that you'll undercut another agency?

We offer that all-important personal touch. Bullshit. These days heaps of creative work arrives by email with a quickly drafted letter attached. And how many creative people have actually met the clients that they are working for?

We want to create a partnership with our clients. No chance. Some recent research says only 55% of Marketers would consider using an agency again. The reason that just under half go elsewhere is because they have countless agencies knocking on their doors offering a better deal. So in truth, agencies have shot themselves in the foot. Clients don't want partnerships. Certainly not when they can go from one shop to another simply cherry picking the best deals they can get.

We have any number of skills and specialisms on tap. Bullshit. You mean you have a few people in key positions and then a long list of freelance talent, right?

We're more curious. Bullshit. Self-indulgent. Pap. When an agency talks about itself in this way I get serious acid indigestion. I reckon it's just the kind of thing that clients just laugh at. I don't want curious, I want friggin answers.

John Fountain is a copywriter.
Twitter: @fountainjohn

Visit John Fountain's website


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