Blind Items: Fighting Over Crumbs

By Patrick Coffee 

Word on the street in the creative agency world, as you probably know, is that the reviews are growing smaller. And rarer.

Everything’s all project-based from Budweiser on down, and for some reason, clients often don’t even want to publicize new relationships to people like us, who only want the best for the ad industry!

  • Part of that shift has included a greater focus on the little wins and the “keeping up relations” moves, according to our sources. Specifically, a certain major CPG client that works with multiple holding companies on a global level recently went through an informal review round … you know, a “let’s explore future opportunities” sort of thing. This process involved pitching new creative ideas, but the key twist here was that the brief was presented by the global chairman/CEO/svengali of the entire holding group himself, with the poor chief creative officer sitting dutifully in the background as his work got manhandled by the Cooper in that Sterling combo. We just hope he got a big old attaboy on the Uber ride home.
  • On a smaller scale, a very recently concluded pitch for a major U.S. brand was run, as we hear it, by the North American CEO of the winning agency network in question. Sure, it sounded great—good name, group picture, press release, the works. But the win was a very small portion of the larger portfolio with the client’s annual budget hovering right around $10 million. The fact that the CEO played lead tells you maybe things aren’t as solid as they seem. Still, new business!
  • It could be worse, though. One agency has recently promoted itself as proudly independent after breaking from its parent company some months ago and pitching the trades with a brave story of defying industry trends. Reality, however, is a little different: the holding group chose to cut the agency loose, and now we hear it has been forced to downsize again by moving into a much smaller office after being unable to maintain its lease. You lose some, you lose some—and PR can’t make up for that.

Finally, apropos of nothing at all, we just want to take every possible opportunity to revisit this GIF, courtesy of one Lara O’Reilly.