Magazine article Management Today

The Ad Industry: All Shook Up

Magazine article Management Today

The Ad Industry: All Shook Up

Article excerpt

When I left university in the mid-80s, many of my smartest contemporaries went into advertising. This was pre-Big Bang, so the City was still a bit stiff and blue-blooded. The most dissolute bloke in my year (he collected a 'Douglas' = Hurd = a Third) went off to trade bonds at Merrill. Business school was for Americans, few understood the arcane world of McKinsey, and private equity was what you had in your Post Office account.

No, advertising was the sexiest of professions: creative, racy, handsomely rewarded and its best output admired by the nation in water-cooler conversations the day after it had been launched like an ocean-going liner during News At Ten's commercial breaks. Successful ad men and women got a Ferrari as a bonus and went on to become the next Alan Parker or Ridley Scott. Ad agencies were so intellectually cocky they tried to take charge of their client's strategy - the Saatchis even tried to acquire Midland Bank.

How things have changed. With media fragmentation, globalisation, the rise of the digital universe and clients more savvy about losing half their marketing pounds down the back of the sofa, advertising's glory days are well and truly over. …

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