Monsters of Advertising: Recognize These 13 Horrible Beasts From Your Agency?

MediaCom preps for a frightful Cannes session

MediaCom is lurching, zombie-like, toward the Cannes Lions festival with a real horror show of a session planned for this Sunday. And it's bringing all kinds of monsters of the advertising industry with it.

To promote its session, "How to Survive a Zombie Attack (And Harness Cultural Trends to Grow Brands)," the media agency has drawn up sketches of 13 archetypal advertising monsters that you probably recognize from your agency life.

They include The Doll, who only parrots the boss's opinions; Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde, who sucks up to senior executives but is a bully when managing down; and the Caretaker, the has-been creative director who's still around for some baffling reason.

MediaCom will have monsters walk the Croisette on Saturday distributing 500 card packs featuring the 13 cards. Check out all 13 frightening characters below.

The session itself will feature Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn on The Walking Dead, along with AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan and Walking Dead executive producer Dave Alpert. They'll discuss what made The Walking Dead such a huge hit, and what brands can learn about becoming a cultural phenomenon, too.

 

The slow, lumbering, mindless hordes that suddenly appear in a company when it reaches "scale" and starts to employ "processes". Initially the bright, intelligent, quick-thinking employers who previously inhabited the company are shocked and traumatized to find themselves working alongside these very different creatures; but the zombies quickly infect all around them, converting them to be one of their mindless, slow moving legion. The company may struggle on, but it will never be the same again.

 

This monster is an extraordinary combination of two entirely different personalities. Charming, helpful, diligent, ever-attentive Dr Jekyl manages upwards; only this face is shown to the CEO. Dark, vicious, evil, sadistic Mr Hyde manages downwards; this face is only shown to the pathetic underlings who have to do his bidding – and who are dismayed to read in an all-staff email sent by the CEO to mark Jekyl/Hyde's latest promotion that he is "especially valued as a people person and a team player".

 

This past-his-prime creative star was shoved sideways and given a caretaker role in a region which had previously been pretty much overlooked by his agency network. As Regional Executive Creative Director he was expected to raise the standard of the creative product. But forensic examination of his hard drive reveals that he spent his entire time writing the same tired old copyline over and over again and trying to sell it to every single client in every single market one after another.

 

A gelatinous alien life form that grows and grows, engulfing everything and everyone. The first sign that the Blob is targeting you is a harmless-looking "event" in your "diary"—a half-hour catch-up meeting. You're not quite sure what it's about, but you "Accept" anyway. As soon as you do, you receive a stream of new invites, each altering and growing the original event, first into a one-hour meeting, then into a two-hour brainstorming session with working lunch, then an off-site awayday, until finally it grows into a horrendous week-long seminar/conference/ huddle 5,000 miles away that will require a month of pre-planning and prevent you from doing any of your actual job.

 

What will the Doll say in a meeting? Whatever it was that the boss just said. What does the Doll think our main business priorities are? Whatever the boss just said they were. What does the Doll think of the plan before us? Exactly what the boss thinks of it. Has the Doll ever had an original idea of its own? Only if the boss has.