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14 May 2005

Guess who has no idea?

NoIdeaAstroGloTee

Advertising agencies have been put on notice, again. Be ideas companies or disappear.

That’s the latest warning delivered at last week’s annual American Association of Advertising Agencies management conference.

According to the New York Times, what clients want most from their agencies is "the power of the big idea”.

“Yet that is probably a phrase that makes every agency cringe because there's no clear path to get to it”, said president and chief executive of Volvo Cars North America division of the Ford Motor Company, Anne Bélec.

Generating bigger, better ideas was also on the mind of another speaker at the conference, MDC Partners Toronto’s chairman and chief executive, Miles Nadalat, a devourer of creatively focussed advertising agencies across the States.

"The challenge for our industry is to make advertising a business of ideas instead of a business of ads and their distribution" said Nadal.

"What clients want most are ideas, innovation, creativity," he added.

While all too often agency leaders have a "focus on money rather than on results for clients", the Times reported.

"The most successful people in this industry are not motivated to come to work every day to make the most profits, but rather to come up with the best ideas.”

Now how many people in Australian agencies would dare even say that they’re ideas companies or that they are in the business of ideas? And how many clients, like Volvo, would demand it? Or even pay for it?

Australian ad agencies reflect in part the paucity of demand for inspirational ideas and concepts from clients, combined with their own slavish corporate attendance to the bottom line. Tell us any different.

No Idea Astro-Glo T-shirt image (c) www.contagious.com

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