Stop Getting Burn'd- Let's Make Marketing Great Again!

The notion of agencies standing strong for what they believe in is both right and just. We believe that agencies today exist as innovators - passionate about making a difference for our clients that matter most. I could banter on about how there are plenty of good people in this world that want to do good things, but for some reason, in the client-to-agency world, this accepted wisdom starts to fall flat, resulting in what we are now seeing as a revolving door of agency turnover at an unprecedented pace.

Maybe it’s the almighty dollar that creates the immoral fog in one’s head? It doesn’t have to be that way. Let's just get to brass tacks - agencies are hired to help our clients sell more stuff. It is just that simple. We all know that there are awesome clients who have long-lasting partnerships with their agencies based on mutual trust, respect, and common interests. But we also know that there are plenty of scars on both sides of the aisle when the relationship gets sour, though the casualty rate for agencies is far greater after the battle.

In the spirit of keeping sane and having a little fun, we’re asking our agency comrades in arms to share some of those times when we did our very best, even under the most extreme circumstances. What the heck?! In light of the current spirited political debate, maybe we could even catalyze a parody movement of sorts to happen. So we decided to explore some fun, politically inspired expressions of how we often feel when client relationships leave us high and dry.

Below is one expression that harkens back to the original revolt against tyranny and standing up for freedom - with a twist, of course. After all, aren’t agencies hired for their expertise to develop creative business solutions to identify business opportunities? Let’s no longer have the CEO’s wife weigh in the idea for 10 minutes of pillow talk, when we took painstakingly hours of research, vetting, testing, and exploration to deliver the most ideal way to help our clients sell more stuff better than the other guy. If you hire the band, goddammit, at least let them play!


This next idea is pretty straight-forward, leaning heavily on the anti-establishment. How many times do you think a client really got “Burned” after firing us? Hmmm. Anyone? Bueller? Maybe clients don’t realize that agency staff just doesn’t hang around in meetings all day waiting and praying for the next client to come on board. Ohhh no. Every penny matters and when a client fires us, the door hits us in the ass pretty quick. Out to the streets we head, seeking another freelance job or full-time if we are really lucky. I don’t see that much door swinging at the clients post-agency termination...rightly or wrongly, they seem to survive, and plod along to hire and fire their next agency in consistent and seemingly expert fashion.


Ok. Some may think this next one is toxic given The Donald’s brash and unfettered voice, but let’s not forget, it’s a free world and people can share their opinions anyway they see fit. Heck, like Bernie, let’s all give credit to Trump for exposing hidden corruption in DC. We all know it runs rampant and anything to disrupt the establishment, from his point of view, is well worth the entertaining tweets. This expression is encouraging agencies to stop taking the bullying that sometime occurs. We know it is far more rewarding to work with awesome people, clients, and brands that truly do make a difference. So what the heck?! Let’s dump the bad ones who bully our teams and dumb down our work. Free up your resources and your people and your tiem to focus on the great ones.


If any of this is resonating with you, we've set-up a simple site that allows you to pick the idea that connects to your worse client/agency relationship. (Disclaimer: we all know there are awesome clients too so let’s just get down with being corny for a few yucks).

In return, 100% of all proceeds will be placed towards a grant to support a rising high school senior who wants to be the next great marketer. Let’s show him/her that the agency world is fun, whacky, and different. Like all of us. After all, if you think tuition is expensive now, wait until it becomes free.

C’mon, who has the guts to buy the first coffee mug for $20 with the “Bernie” statement and proudly place it in the next brainstorm meeting and help develop the next great advertising superstar? When proceeds are collected, we will share the progress.

Also, please feel free to leave anonymous comments about your worst client relationship, horror stories for from meetings gone terribly wrong, status calls that would make your blood chill. If we can’t cry about it, we may as well laugh.

Thanks to everyone and we’ll be posting updates periodically.


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Gillian Lynch