What are the biggest mistakes agencies make

4 problems agencies need to fix

Actually there are only two things in the advertising year that are repeated over and over again: award ceremonies that do not interest anyone outside the industry, and discussions about the shortage of young talent, which has not been remedied for 40 years.

Bad pay has always been given as the reason for the latter. Yes, agencies pay poorly, but whoever sees this as the sole reason is thinking too short. The real problem is: The industry is far too self-absorbed to be able to take the next generation seriously.

“Agencies have a tendency to grapple with topics that are only superficially relevant. With the latest buzzwords and award ceremonies, a development is simulated that does not take place in reality. "

Jasper Kessler

"Hardly any other industry is as fast-moving as advertising." Correct. The perceived minute change in the requirements and tasks facing advertising agencies is immense. Oh - and you don't do advertising any more! #Communication - and of course integrated. Bam. Yes, we take it brutally seriously with buzzwords and titles. It doesn't matter if anyone out there cares. So it happens that all of a sudden companies stand on the mat at "communication agencies" and want their telephone system to be rewired. And now you come

Agencies don't see their real problems

Agencies have a tendency to grapple with topics that are only superficially relevant. With the latest buzzwords and award ceremonies, a development is simulated that does not take place in reality: advertising agencies have been going in circles for years. When was the last time something drastic changed in the industry that would be interesting for the next generation? Don't tell me now that the establishment of the works council of Scholz & Friends was a breath of the future!

The claims of the advertising watch "Mad Men" and say to themselves with tears in their eyes: We were the horny ones! Yes, you were the horny ones. And yes, we like to watch "Mad Men" too. But no - that's not the kind of work and pseudo-fame that appeals to us.

Time to move with the times

Back to bad pay: Does anyone seriously believe that someone still goes into advertising today because they want to make quick money? I mean - we still know them, the old advertising cars with egos, as heavy as their S-Classes, but we also know: it won't work here anytime soon. Even if it were nicer - that's ok for us. The problems are much deeper and four of them are exemplary:

1. Agencies are extremely aloof

Hardly any other industry is as self-contained as advertising. Their barriers are extremely high and if you climb them anyway, you feel - to put it nicely - disproportionately little value: “What a résumé! You can do a six-month internship with us! And in addition to your 500 euros, I got you a monthly pass from the very top - awesome, right? ”Tightened. Thanks.

2. The agencies' incentive system is out of date

While everyone is talking about cultural change and visions and living a rethink-everything spirit, advertising agencies are still standing on the stage in all seriousness and lifting their awards into the air. They are what your self-image is based on. This not only brings with it massive and completely artificially induced pseudo-stress, but also creates a bad elbow culture. Internal and external. And for what? For nothing! And when the youngsters come along and say that they don't see any point in this, the advertising world shakes its head and says: In the past, the boys had more fire!

3. The structures and hierarchies sound better than they are

Agencies do not manage to implement their melodious values ​​and ideals in their daily work. Sure, compared to corporations, their structures are pretty free. But otherwise? How free is a structure built on compulsive overtime? And how flat can a hierarchy be in an elbow culture? The advertising world does not do justice to either, even if it constantly claims to be.

4. There is no support or leadership

A big problem for advertising agencies is that people are given personnel responsibility early on and without further training. Those who are poorly promoted also poorly. And there is also a “We had to do that too” attitude. Unfavorable mix for a demanding next generation that questions everything for sense.

Anyone who takes the shortage of young talent seriously has to break with what already exists

You can no longer attract the next generation with prizes and industry-internal fame. We want to see a purpose in our work, have a vision, grow and learn. We want to experience leadership and take responsibility. We want fewer fixed structures and more freedom for self-determination. We no longer want to solve our part of the problem with given task areas, but rather as a team to solve the big picture.

“You can no longer attract the next generation with prizes and industry-internal fame. We want to see a purpose in our work, have a vision, grow and learn. "

Jasper Kessler

If an agency wants to do justice to the next generation, it has to give them confidence and freedom. The offspring could, for example, form their own unit, which, with the existing agency structures behind them, has to set itself up and provide work. In this way he could ideally develop his abilities - because he would have to. And so both parties would benefit from each other: The next generation can work independently and develop and the established agency not only receives highly motivated young people, but also customer fields and interest groups that previously seemed unreachable. That is certainly the most extreme form of confronting the problem. And that is certainly not a patent solution for every agency. But if you want to fix a problem, you have to take extreme measures.
The author

When Jasper Keßler is not thinking about this topic, he is a child himself. And that was what he was already doing at Thjnk Berlin in consulting and at Jung von Matt / Spree in the text. At the beginning of 2015 he founded the young creative agency Epic in Berlin together with two friends for the reasons listed above. It belongs to the marketing agency Winkler & Stenzel from Hanover and works pretty much as described above.