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

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.


“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.