Part 1: Generation Y Agency Playing in a Big Pond
March 26, 2008

About a year ago, a peer of mine, Carlos Casas, and his brother decided to start their own advertising agency in Austin, TX. What resources did they have?
Ideas, ambition and business know-how.

Carlos is a Hispanic 22 year-old advertising major at the University of Texas at Austin: College of Communications, His brother, Englebert (yes his real name) is 32 years-old. Carlos brings a combination of business sense, a love-hate relationship with advertising, and a passion for creative and ideas. While Carlos mettles in a little bit of everything within the agency, Englebert takes care of more of the day-to-day operations: ordering, purchasing print, etc. as well as the finances of the agency. Together they began Azul & Green Advertising; a small start-up shop by a Generation X & Y state-of-mind.

About two months ago, Cecelia Stewart and I had a conversation with Joel Greenberg of “Friends Talking Podcast” about how differently Boomers, Generation X and Ys work. Through speaking with Joel, we realized the ‘gap’ that exists between these generations as they work together (or try too!). The Baby Boomer generation is all about getting things organized, divvying up the work to be done, assuring everyone is doing their part. Today in the advertising industry, these are the executives running the agencies. Generation X are a few of the start up companies, trying to do what the big agencies do with little money. They don’t care how big or small they are, they know they can do it better. The Generation Y agencies have to be the most passionate and collaborative group because they have to be. They don’t care whether they start with a dime in the bank, they are mostly concerned about getting everyone’s input and working together.

This is an introduction into the conversation of “Gaps Between Generation Collaboration”. Over the next few posts, I will be discussing an interview I had with Carlos Casas about Azul & Green (A&G), and his experiences diving into an industry before he’s even received a degree in it. The most fascinating thing about A&G is that it is made up of about five people, five clients, and they are making due.

“We are groups of overlapping packets: we are ‘independents’ that can work together, but not always under the same roof.” Carlos Casas

-Jennifer Hallabough

Assembly lines for advertising are oiled by the people who like structure in an industry that is supposed to be about change.
March 18, 2008

http://honors.rit.edu/amitraywiki/images/8/8f/Assembly.jpg

1) Agencies in the advertising industry have become strictly structured producers.

Ideas are divided into parts with media, creative, account services/planning taking a piece. Communication between each group occurs only when they need to, telling each other just what they need to know to do their job and complete their work. What often lacks in this communication is explaining the reasoning, the vision, and the conceptual thought behind the decisions.

2) Advertising Campaigns are completed in a linear process, because it’s efficient

The overall advertising campaign is completed in one of two ways, both a linear state-of-mind. The first linear state is when a percentage of the work is completed by one department and then passed along to the next; thinly building on the previous portion. Even worse, as mentioned before, is the second linear state where work is completed, with a lack of communication between, at the same time with limited intersections with other tools.

3) If you have ever worked in agencies that seem to use a lot of the same tools over and over again, and you find it odd that they seem stuck in their ways—they might suffer from ‘Assemblage’.

The physical and intellectual separation by departmentalization and using tools that people are comfortable with using have made advertising an assembly line: ‘Get the work done in the quickest way possible’—instead of a way of thinking or procedure that has the most optimization for the client. The ‘assembly line’ method affects agencies by creating a system that produces similar work for different clients. ‘Do what is familiar, do what is easy and get it out the door.’

4) There is only ownership of work and no ownership of thought.

Not to say that the day to day operations of dealing with representatives of print and broadcast companies do not take a talent, professional intellect and instinct, but when the actual strategy for the client is left to a very small amount of people, from the outside perspective—everyone else is just filling out the paperwork.

5) We need to talk. We need to exchange. We need to drop the assembly line attitude.

People can be so concerned with getting the work out so efficiently that they form a structure, which restricts the flow of ideas, the development of ideas and makes it quite difficult to get your thinking outside of the box—because they do not have time to get out.

Sources:

“The Marketing Company Communications Disconnect: And Why Ad Agencies Are Viewed as Laborers Rather Than Architects”

By A. Louis Rubin, Advertising Age
Published: June 06, 2005

Commentary by A. Louis Rubin
It’s the sad truth that no one in the communications business wants to acknowledge or admit but the bottom line is that few communications professionals are invited into the inner sanctorum of marketers’ strategy and planning sessions on the executive committee level.