Is Advertising Art?

Is Advertising Art? Yes and No.


images-campHere are some thoughts about the business of advertising that I will explore this year. A key one is the question of advertising art vs. advertising science and how this effects what you are selling to future clients.

Is advertising art or science? We’ll it used to be very much art. Today, it has become, in my estimation, too scientific. I find that it is getting harder to find the big advertising ideas. You know, the ideas that resonate, hit the emotions, get talked about. These “ideas” seem to be lost in a world of ever evolving tech / digital platforms. Sure, this could simply be ‘good-old-days veteran speak’. But, no…. we are simply not spending enough time thinking about the BIG ideas that drive humans to pay attention and to act (to give a shit.) We spend too much time talking about the technology that puts boring ad ideas in front of people. Boring.

Does the technology work? Facebook advertising fibbing / bullshit – again and again (the BIG 2016 story). And then there is ad fraud. Billions? Wasted? Clients have woken up. This should be interesting.

The business of advertising sucks. I talk with dozens of agencies. most, even shops up to 200 (I won’t even get into the networks) are barely making it. Why? Well, most do not really know what business they are in. They like making ‘ads’ and using the latest ad tech. But, they do not know how to make money? Most, the vast majority of agencies, do not even have a business plan that spells out the path to success. Please, start with a plan. And, given the pace of change, review the plan every year.

Most agencies do not have a marketing plan.

ADHD. Worse, even the ones that do have a marketing – new business – sales plan… do not run it with any consistency. Start – stop – start – stop. That is not how sales works.

Sell? Most owners will never be able to sell their agency. Ever. They are not building a business for sale. That means that they do not have a product or service that someone else will want and want to pay big bucks for. You can build a valuable agency. But, you have to make the goal of building value part of your plan. A part of that business plan.

Process equals success. Having a clear, well-managed agency process is critical. Agencies have to find as many repeatable systems as possible. Otherwise, you are doomed to the world of over-work and low-margins. Read this: Advertising Agency Process and Profitability. It is long. It is based on how my agency built a system for profitability. An agency I was able to sell.

There is much more. but, I have to go now. Adios and —– Feilz Ano Nuevo!!!

OK, Back to Art

lumascape-marketing-techOne more thought. You are in the advertising industry. This means that you have to connect with hearts and minds in order to cause the action you seek. This means that art is involved. Sure you have to use advertising technology (that’s all that overwhelming stuff at the left). But, you will not get the results you want until you spend some time making advertising art.

Soooooo, as a New Year’s gift, I give you a very brief definition of art. Think of this Richard Serra video the next time you crawl into the ad tech wormhole.

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    • It certainly was ‘art’ to some of my crazier creative directors…

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