Magazine article Marketing

Actuary It's an Ad Agency

Magazine article Marketing

Actuary It's an Ad Agency

Article excerpt

Actuary it's an ad agency As if the advertising business were not undergoing sufficient agony, the Institute of Actuaries has recommended reclassifying publicly-quoted ad agencies as "BusinessSupportServices".

For those previously unaware, the category includes photocopier and office furniture suppliers, stationery firms and contract caterers. Any moment now, some account manager might receive a request from an acerbic client: "... fourteen yards of advertising and hold the mayo".

Humiliation was inevitable. While some of us proclaimed the virtues of independent ownership, our voices were inaudible in the thundering bellow of the bull market. In order to keep the City comforted, agencies confidently predicted growth impossible to sustain. And in the stampede for profit, creative standards deteriorated.

Having toiled in both owner-driven and publicly-owned agencies, I have never made any secrets about which kind I prefer. The agency in which I work achieved its jealously-guarded independence in a management buyout.

I say "jealously-guarded", because we have rejected every opportunity to cash in and sell the agency in part or as a whole to most of the large agency groups you can name in the US, UK, France or Japan.

Perhaps we are crazy to cling to our birthright. Maybe we are crazy to resist domination from absentee landlords who insist on reducing overheads every time the economy hits a pothole. Maybe we were crazy not to finance an aggressive programme of acquisition based on mountainous debt. …

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