Inside the Agency/Client Relationship
In Alison Fahey’s column titled “Presumed Innocent” [Art & Commerce, Aug. 2], her insights into agency/client relationships–and the way bad news is or isn’t shared–are right on. With three decades of experience on both sides of the business, I agree that many clients are not completely up front with their agencies. Unfortunately, quite often those that are don’t get heard.
Fahey wondered, “Why such smart, intuitive people [at agencies] can sometimes be so naive.” It’s a combination of two factors:
– Agency management is usually optimistic to a fault, [it] doesn’t like bad news and often tends to minimize it.
– On those too few occasions when the parties get together to review the agency’s performance, emphasis is usually placed on current projects and issues. The real keys to potential account defection–deep-seated client concerns–are never discussed.
Our work in conducting both client-satisfaction and new-business surveys for agencies, among clients, reveals:
– The client initiates most agency evaluation work.
– Regularly scheduled, well-structured agency evaluations enhance and prolong relationships.
– One-third of clients that changed agencies (in a recent survey) believed that if an agency-evaluation program was in place, it might have prevented the need for a shift.
The same survey showed most client/agency breakups take 3 to 12 months, and the agencies usually have ample warning that problems exist. If they are listening.
Paul J. Goldsmith
Results International Consulting,
New York
Fox Sports to Best Spots:
Get in the Pre-game
I appreciate the commentary each month in “Best Spots.” What I’ve enjoyed most is the review of the “work,” which is why I was a bit surprised you took a swipe at the “product” recently [Aug. 16] with our NFL pre-game show. I’m a big boy and I can take it, but I would like to point out that it would be hard for Fox’s pre-game to be “more watchable.” It is the highest-rated show since it premiered five years ago and outrated CBS’ and ESPN’s pre-game shows by 34 percent and 112 percent, respectively. So I guess Bradshaw and company are doing something right? Anyway, I can’t complain, historically “Best Spots” has been kind to Fox Sports. We hope it continues.
Neal Tiles
Senior vice president, marketing
Fox Sports,
Los Angeles
David Ogilvy:
Legend in His Own Time
Reading some magazines written in the 1950s, I came across an editor’s summary of the events of the decade.
Stunning innovations were chronicled, such as something called “Espresso,” “Stop and Go” pills (Milltown and Benzedrine), “Capri Pants,” so-called “Fabulous Electronic Monster Thinking Machines” (computers) and “Ads with Humor.”
I’ve always thought of David Ogilvy as the quintessential ad man, but I didn’t realize that at
the time, his original mind was regarded as revolutionary. My God, he’s the man who beget all that we hold dear: Humor as a way to sell a product.
Cliff Freeman
Chairman, chief creative officer
Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York
Hispanic Marketers Rely Too Much on Spanish
Marketing to Hispanics may always be a low-budget affair, and the blame lies with the Hispanic advertising industry–which from day one has wrapped its identity in Spanish [Adweek, July 26].
So much so that Hispanics speak primarily Spanish and are not “assimilating.” In other words,
they are not becoming part of U.S. culture.
This positioning–which feeds off prevailing prejudices–has only served to segregate Hispanics from the marketing mainstream.
At the same time, it has turned Hispanic advertising into a $1 billion Spanish media compensation buy, not a Hispanic investment buy. All those marketing folks who don’t spend against Hispanics might be ignorant about the culture, but they are not stupid about the media facts. Like the fact that even during its most popular prime-time hour, Spanish TV is “unwatched” by 70 percent of Hispanics. And for all the current success of Spanish print, its circulation is paltry.
While Hispanic advertising executives are claiming Hispanics are not reached by English media, other Hispanic organizations are rightfully asking for more Hispanics to appear on English television, given the extent they use it. While these Hispanic groups are fighting for opposite causes, the real victims are the Hispanic people, who just want to have a relaxing, fun time–in English or Spanish.
Rick Chavarria

For the Record A caption in some editions of the Aug. 23 Adweek misidentified Kevin Roddy’s
new agency. The former Cliff Freeman and Partners associate creative director is moving to Fallon McElligott, New York, in
the same role