Ad agency Droga 5 has taken the unusual step of placing an ad in The Australian complaining that the industry is a less fun place than it used to be.
In the ad, published in today’s Media section and headlined “Happy, whatever” , the agency reminisces about long lunches and lengthy overseas shoots and complains:
“To be brutally honest, we laugh less than we used to, smile less than we should, and beat ourselves up a lot more than is medically advisable.”
Calling for the industry’s new year’s resolution to be to have more fun, the agency – headed by former Saatchi & Saatchi ECD David Nobay – says that it needs “a rare breed of courage to stand up for ideas”, adding: “We do it because we have to (actually, to be precise, because it’s what we’re paid to do.) But we also do it because we love the idea of what those fragile thoughts could potentially become, if just given the chance to grow. We dream, albeit surreptitiously, of making something brilliant, captivating and, yes, even enduring.”
The agency suggests that the problem lies with anonymous commenters:
“Admittedly, within our infamous industry blogs, we have succeeded in creating the perfect tool for reminding us all of the perils of over-reaching creatively. Some might say they perform a vital service in keeping us honest. But since the people saying it are invariably anonymous, ‘honesty’ may not be the best description for their covert talents.”
It is not the first time an ad agency has set out a manifesto in a national newspaper ad. David Ogilvy did so when he launched, and later on the Saatchi brothers did so both for the launch of Saatchi & Saatchi and later M&C Saatchi.
Nobay has previously railed against anonymous commenters. In 2006, he wrote a piece for Campaign Brief in which he complained: “Rather than the veil of anonymity protecting the innocent, it allows anyone with an axe to grind – but no experience to back it up – full rein to vent their spleen. While I concede this may be mildly cathartic for those sorry souls who carry their chip on the shoulder (“I never got the good briefs/good job/right salary/fully formed penis/trip to Cannes”) like a heavily laden rucsac, I question how this ultimately makes our industry a smarter place to work.”
The same topic also came up on Mumbrella earlier this year with The Brand Shop’s Peter Fray writing: “I am stunned at the level of vitriol stemming from some people’s comments in both this blog and others.”