I've been thinking a lot about the failed Omnicom/Publicis merger. Not about it as much as why other creatives seem to care about it. Because I can't bring myself to care at all.
I've tried, lord knows I've tried to think of something snarky to say or come up with my thoughts on it but I don't care. Because it doesn't have anything to do with me.
And, in all honesty, I don't think has anything to do with most creatives. So I'm also having trouble understanding why anyone else cares about it other than they wanted something to write about or snark about other than the bleakness that is the day to day drudgery in most agencies.
Because these are banks we're talking about. Two big advertising banks. Maybe accounting firms would be more accurate but I've never been good with financial matters.
And I don't think accounting or banking has much place in the business of creatives. Yes it effects the ad business as a whole, but it doesn't have a thing to do with making creative work. It's a distraction. And a good one at that.
Truth be told I've never been a huge fan of holding companies because I don't like the idea that some force thousands of miles away geographically and millions of miles away ideologically is what I'm depending on to make a living. Bold stance, I know.
A holding company isn't worried about the end creative product so much as they're concerned with the end of a balance sheet.
Even the way this merger was promoted speaks volumes about what the holding companies think is the important bit of the business. They touted it as the biggest merger in advertising history. Touted the billions in billings they would be consolidating. Not a mention of creativity. Hardly even a mention of agencies or the work. It was all about the money. Which is fine if you're in accounting, but we're not. We're in advertising.
Advertising doesn't have a lot to stand on without creatives. Because creativity is the point of it. You can have the accountants but if you want to survive you need us. Losing sight of that is as detrimental to the business as any huckster has ever been.
It is these kinds of issues that make me side with the millions (billions?) of people who hate advertising. Which is a shame because I love advertising.
I love when it's really good and makes me tingle because someone has managed to make business a little more human. To make things a little more relatable for non-business people. To take some of the millions of corporate dollars wasted every day on marketing and not waste them. That's the advertising I love and strive to make. Anything else makes me feel like my soul is being poisoned and that I'd be better off doing nothing than doing this.
Like most deluded creatives (my favorite kind of creative) I love the product but hate the business.
The business is, by the way, slowly squeezing every last ounce of creativity out of advertising. It's upsetting because it so doesn't matter and it's just a distraction. It's upsetting because people seem more invested in this than they are their work. Than they are selling good work. Because it's money. But without creativity clients aren't going to have a reason to stick around.
Our job is to create. Not to worry about two banks entering into doomed matrimony.