Cull your agencies and stop appealing to ‘every fucker with a thumb’, Spinach founder advises

Brands need to cut the number of specialist suppliers they are working with if they want to cut through with consumers and stop wasting money, the co-founder of Spinach Advertising Melbourne has warned, arguing some brands are working with too many agencies and specialist communications suppliers.

Morabito: “Pay your agencies, give them the account and make them accountable”

Frank Morabito told the Mumbrella Automotive Marketing Summit the challenge of juggling multiple relationships was hindering brands’ marketing, with many agencies too focused on trying to undercut each other and not on the needs of the client.

He also warned marketers using social media to stop trying to appeal to “every fucker with a thumb”.

“We need to cut the number of specialist suppliers,” Morabito said.

“There is so much stuff being cut up and being spread about the place that there is no one sitting there guarding what you stand for. I get the theory, the theory is you have all these specialist suppliers and what you do is you put all the people that work on a particular part of your business in a kind of sand pit and you create beautiful stuff and invite everyone to come along and look at the beautiful stuff and you share it.

“That’s bullshit. Here’s what happens. You have a sand pit and the fuckers in the sandpit, they want to build a wall and a moat and they want to build a tunnel and tunnel to the other sand pit and start scratching away at the money those other idiots are wasting so they can put it back into their budget. That’s what happens in agency-land.

“Pay your agencies, give them the account and make them accountable.”

Morabito presenting at Mumbrella’s Automotive Marketing Summit

Addressing the issue of what was wrong with car advertisers and why marketing was so bland, Morabito outlined a number of improvements car makers needed to apply to improve the quality of the creative which was vital to brands standing out in a crowded market.

“We need to develop a shared purpose,” he said. “We need to come up with a symbiotic relationship between car brand and car buyer. You have to give the buyer a reason to come along for the ride.”

He highlighted the way Apple was using shots taken by its phone owners as a central part of its marketing, giving the brand and its customers a sense of shared purpose.

“My second point is let’s start think audience first, not features first. We keep talking about as an industry or us as car brands, nobody is really talking about what the fuck does the audience really want? They are not out there waiting to absorb your wonderful creations. They are sitting on a bus and your ad is getting in the way of what they’re trying to watch.

“And if Gogglebox has shown us anything people are usually half cut when they are sitting there watching us anyway,” he said.

“Get noticed and be remembered for being an audience-first brand,” he said. “If you are irrelevant to the audience you are actually invisible.”

Morabito also warned that in using social media, marketers were in danger of dumbing down their messages.

“Is this what we have dumbed everything down to? We are trying to appeal to every fucker with a thumb,” he said.


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