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Agency titles

April 21, 2008

Updated: 5/14

If you’ve ever worked in an advertising agency, then you know the titles of people who work there. The creative department on one side, all dressed in black, with dark offices, and loud music, filled with copywriters, art directors, graphic designers, etc. Then the account executives, the suits, all dressed in suits with all the lights on. Agencies are basically this.

The agency also has a media department, an accounting department, perhaps a traffic department, a production department, and some other support staff.

This is how it always worked. Because advertising agencies did campaigns that would revolve around broadcast and print. The print ad had a look and said something. The TV spot had a look and said something. The look of things was carefully planned to emote a sense of the brand.

Indeed, this is where the account executives came in. They would help craft a brief, then go through the process with the creative team ensuring that the creative was on brief. They are the leading stewards of the brand. Find the voice, and then find the way to get the voice out. That’s what we all do.

Well then, how does things like the McDonald’s A.R.G. fit into that? It didn’t start with a brief from suits to the creative team. Did it? Did someone with a title that an agency is familiar with come up with this idea?

It seems easy to blame titles. The titles we all know and love are relics of a time when it was “brief the creative on a piece of communication” using a known medium, As things like McDonald’s ARG hit us square in the head, we’re left looking around and wondering if it’s something agencies can even do.

Also, wondering if it’s something agencies should do.

And yes, there is a lot of evidence from some really good shops that things like this can happen. Think of this place, and the work for Burger King.

I think that if we’re in a new era, then the agencies that don’t limit themselves with titles are the ones that will win. Because the idea can come from anywhere. We’re all engagement specialists (or something like that) now.

And it might not just be found in the creative department. And yet, isn’t the creative department, with their all-black dressed people in dark offices, the only place we’re currently looking for the next idea?


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