Nov 15, 2007

More Perspective

So like everyone else, one of my first reactions to the news that award show magician Tony Granger was taking over the CCO job at Y&R was "Damn, they must be paying him zillions."

But upon reflection, it hit me that they're probably paying him around $2-3 million a year, which is likely the pinnacle of creative salaries. Which is what numerous not-very-impressive 20 and 30something Wall Streeters make come bonus time. And what numerous writer/producers of network TV shows can make in just one season. And what numerous engineers and other mid-level employees of hot 2.0 shops walk away with in stock options.

Like the title says, it just gives all those late nights a little perspective. But more importantly, it tells me how undervalued our contributions are -- not just us creatives, but the industry in general. Now that we've lost the 15% commission, we need to find a better way to get remunerated for our ideas. Because that's our real contribution and it's not a minor one. We provide real value and benefit to our clients and we need to find a fair and equitable way to monetize it.

Maybe those Hollywood writers are on to something.


Anonymous said...

True enough.

But one of my first reactions was, "Damn, it really is about how much fake work you can game the award shows with these days, isn't it? The shows were silly enough when it was just the odd creative team looking for a little attention doing the fake stuff. Now it's agency policy, with the clients winking and going along for the ride, pretending they're cool. Damn."

Anonymous said...

$2-3 million? really? i'd say a million plus. but you never know.

this dude basically goes into big shops and gets some award-winning work and declares victory and then moves on. has Saatchis substantially changed under his tenure? or was it just window dressing?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of numbers, and regardless of dubious "realness" of work, Granger brought in Wendy's and Cold Stone Creamery (small change, but still), and I believe one other substantial win while there.

And apparently, all of the fake P&G shit is P&G authorized for awards (why awards and not to run is beyond me, but whatever).

Saatchi was very sleepy prior to his arrival, so he at least brought in a couple of high-profile wins.

I do hate the fake awards shit, but whatever.

Anonymous said...


"And apparently, all of the fake P&G shit is P&G authorized for awards (why awards and not to run is beyond me, but whatever)."

I think you're right and I think that's what bugs me the most about it.

Because now that clients like that are onboard with the fakery, it gives everyone a perfect excuse to let the everyday stuff be as lame or lamer than ever.

Now the only work that gets properly shepherded through the agency is the fake stuff done by whoever's chosen by the ECF (Executive Creative Fake) to work on the FCI (Fake Creative Initiative). And don't think every two-bit CD in every podunk agency and BDA outpost isn't watching and trying out this very same model in their own regional way as we speak. All it does is give everyone a perfect excuse to let the day-to-day projects quietly turn to shit (and become a nightmare for the creatives working on them) because hey, awards? That's what the fake stuff is for.

Sure, in the short term, the ECFs and a few of the guys under them may win by playing this game. But in the long run, the rest of the agency—and in my opinion the industry—is much poorer for it.

And no, I'm not saying this because I just now realized it. Or because I've an award show axe to grind. I have my share (earned legitimately) and I hope to earn more.

I'm saying it becasue for some reason, no else in the trade ever does. None of our so-called creative leaders ever come out against it. And I think that's sad. And I'm tired of it.

Anonymous said...

dwfqsati is me, fatc.

Apparantly, I'm so pissed about this, I entered the word verification code instead of my name.

Deep breath. Calm down. There, that's better.

Sorry all.

Alan Wolk said...

@Yikes: J.C. Penney was the other big account that came in under Granger's watch. But not sure that wasn't due more to their long-term experience in retail than to hip P&G ads.

Anonymous said...

i know for a fact that the JC Penneys win was a result of the client buying Kevin Roberts "lovemarks" horseshit. not martin granger.

the scam P&G stuff won print awards at Cannes. kind of pathetic for all concerned. advertising is hollow and shallow enough already without being fake to boot.

Anonymous said...

Good marketing starts at home. Like so many CD's, self-promotion, fake awards, and 'cool,hip' attitude substitute for intelligence and ability to supervise people.

At least this industry eats its own cooking or buys into its own shit.

Alan Wolk said...

@Anonymous: I'm of two minds on that.

On the one hand, I think that we're in the business of creating brands and if you can create your own brand and sell it, well, good for you.

But on the other hand, I'd feel sleazy going that route with fake awards and gratuitous press coverage.

I guess the bottom line is that maybe we wouldn't want to be friends with the sort of people who are capable of such blatant self-promotion, but we can admire their chutzpah.

From a distance, anyway.

Anonymous said...

For starters, Granger had nothing to do with JCPenney and Wendy's - Chalk those wins to Roberts based on relationship. Tony has a reputation as a nice guy and people like working for him. Good track record of taking shitty agencies and improving them. My guess is that they are paying him more than $2-3 million because Y&R is desparate. They haven't won anything in years and they are a shell of the agency Sorrell paid $4.7 billion for a few years ago. And whatever they are paying Granger is a bargain compared to the $11 million Michael Patti fiasco.

Alan Wolk said...

@Grumpy Pumpkin: (Great name, btw)

$11 million!!
Was that a multi-year gig?
Please tell me it was.
Have heard nothing but horror stories about Patti regarding his days at BBDO. As in one sadistic fuck. Couldn't believe he was seen as a savior by Y&R given his (well-known) history.


Anonymous said...

It's weird, I heard a lot of that Folgers stuff ran, but only in really small markets. And Toad, nail on the head with how it sets up creativity. If it's good enough for some markets, why not all?

Personally, I think they made a lot of nice comps and have done some decent real work. But most of the day to day was drivel.

Y&R needs something.

I heard the same numbers about Patti, and he also successfully pissed off basically every client in the network.

Granger's obviously good at raising an agency's profile. I just wish it was through the old-fashioned way.

Oh, and the JC Penney stuff is nice. Totally doesn't match the store, but I think as big brandy-but-retaily TV, it's pretty respectable.

I wish him and Y&R success, and I just hope it's legit.

Alan Wolk said...

@Yikes, et. al.: Bottom line is that Granger successfully boosted Saatchi's profile. Getting that sort of press for a big agency is pretty hard work and it definitely created a halo effect that worked for all parts of the agency.

My greater point with this post wasn't to offer a referendum on Granger, but just to point out that we (as an industry) need to re-examine our compensation model and start getting paid more fairly for our ideas.

Whether you like his methods or not, Granger was responsible for ideas that boosted both the agency's and the clients' profiles and that should be worth a whole lot of money.

Anonymous said...

My son asked me why advertising copywriters weren't part of the WGA or The Screen Writers Guild. Before I could answer, his follow-up question was: "Who wrote 'Just Do It.' That person would be making a ton of residuals."
I said that I didn't know who wrote:
"Just Do It." I knew the agency; I knew the client; I knew the names of lots of people who have worked on Nike in the last 25 years, but I don't know who wrote "Just Do It."
But I would ask The Toad Stool community, and although they aren't former members of UAW or The AFL-CIO, someone might know the answer.

Alan Wolk said...

@Tom: While I suspect that there are two dozen some odd people who all claim authorship of the line, I'm hard-pressed to tell you who deserves the credit.

Hoping someone here knows. I turned it over to my Facebook ad bloggers group too- I'll let you know what they come up with.

Anonymous said...

"just do it". wasn't that written by, oh what's his name, dan wieden? apparently the line was inspired by executed killer Gary Gilmore's last words. that's how wieden says he was inspired to write the line.

Anonymous said...

thanks...for the info...
no residuals, i guess, for mister gilmore
either from
w& norman mailer, for that matter.....................

loebster said...

Here's what I truly don't get about fake work: how can anyone consider themselves an ad professional, and waste their talent (and the client's goodwill) in pursuit of fake work? How utterly empty that seems.

Anonymous said...

Read the latest comments in adfreak.

Seems the new Tide superbowl spot (it was a good ad actually) never even ran before the Sueprbowl yet won in Cannes. So P&G actually 'tested' it on us dumbass ad people.

Think of the precedence it could set if it were true. First, you'd have to produce a fake ad to dupe all of your coworkers at an award show. Then, if it's voted in, the client will agree to run it.

If that was scammed, those guys should be called out immediately.

And P&G only allows the scam because it satiates the creatives their and they can produce shit work otherwise. It also means Saatchi can recruit people who think those are real ads. It's sad.