Aug 4, 2006

Agency.com forgot that the camera doesn't lie.

The Agency.com Subway pitch video has made the rounds of all the ad blogs. I had hoped it was a clever farce, but unfortunately I haven't read anything indicating that.

Bypassing the obvious targets for derision (the ECD with PermaStubble® and cammo NY Yankees hat, the CD who compares herself to Grace Kelly and Rodney Dangerfield, the New Biz Guy who enacts his wet dream of snapping his fingers to make creatives come running, the "If we roll we roll big" comment, the hipster senior AD who talks vaguely about Subway's "potential" as if they haven't already proven themselves a viable business...the list could go on and on) it struck me that the aggressive lameness of the video--which was supposed to be and is "viral" in the sense the it's getting traded around and contains the microbes of agency ignorance--masked the real problem with it. And that was the mindset it so obviously revealed.

All the self-congratulatory lame-ass agency bullsh*t, and apparent time-bubble they live in aside, I don't think it was such a bad idea to pitch with this type of video. It's a great way to peel back the onion a bit and show how a shop works, how they think. And basically, that's all an agency has--the work they produce and the relationships they create.

Unfortunately, what Agency.com produced is so completely derivative of the reality TV genre, and as a group they are so painfully self-aware and disingenuous, that I finished watching the video without a single shred of credible evidence that they would bring anything unique to Subway. (They even had the audacity to imply that Subway "needed" their help, a big no-no.) Nor did I get a sense of who they are as people, other than to think that they're overconfident and will never really tell me the truth.

More importantly, if I'm Subway's VP of Advertising and am trying to decide who gets my multi-million-dollar online ad buy, I want to feel confident my agency knows something about my brand and cares about my success. Agency.com didn't show me that at all, not a single customer insight or example of how they understand what Subway's about. The only thing they achieved with any effectiveness was to indicate what's their top priority--and it's themselves.

I really do hope it's a clever "meta" spoof or satire. I really, really do.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a non-advertising guy, I have to think the potential client would think "who gives a rat's ass about the inner workings of the creative team-show me the finished product".

Tim Rickards said...

I agree. And I think most clients could care less about the deeper team--they're concerned with the work and the agency's contact points. The mice spinning the wheels probably aren't so interesting.