SapientNitro’s Portfolio Night Clip Might Look a Little Familiar

By Bob Marshall 

If you don’t feel like watching the whole 3-minute Portfolio Night Boston clip from SapientNitro above, here’s a brief summary: A hipper-than-thou ad creative pitches a wealth of concepts to an agency head. The problem is, that this mustache-sporting creative’s ideas hinge on a litany of buzzwords and tech-y hoopla, which the agency head (OMG! Look at his CLIOs! Look at Cannes Lions!) shakes his head at. The creative is then escorted out of the building, and we see the words “Idea Before Everything” flash across the screen.

You’ve probably seen this execution done hundreds of times before, many times made by agencies that see these little vignettes as an opportunity to advertise themselves as shops that “get it.” They do so by making fun of whatever new ad trends are the talk of the town right now, making sure that the viewer (who is generally either an employee or someone who works at another agency, like you) knows that they don’t buy into bullshit hype and that their work is somehow pure. But, let’s be honest, does anyone really believe that? Has anyone won new business that way? Can any of you say that you never worked at an agency that unironically bought into these kinds of hype-driven executions this video mocks? Sure, it has to done, because that’s what clients want, but let’s not pretend that all of us have clean hands.


I guess what I’m asking for is that agencies who preach innovation to start marketing themselves in an innovative fashion. That, or how about we actually practice what we preach and don’t make creative that actually does hinge on whatever buzzword Mashable puts on their homepage (not going to happen). For the record, I’m not calling out SapientNitro in particular. I’m just tired of seeing this idea.