Study Hall (Episode 8): Frenemies (1 of 2)
This is a pretty scary book—Ken Auletta catalogs the rot in the ad industry, starting with the rebate fracas that broke out at the (now-infamous!) Association of National Advertisers meeting in 2015.
Why’s it so scary? Well, for one thing, it lays bare long-standing, unsuccessfully-addressed problems with the business model on which the ad agency operates. And it explains a lot about why agencies have been struggling with everything from client service to profitability, to pricing, to talent, to working conditions.
…and that’s not even the really scary part. The REALLY scary part is what happens to an advertising income-supported culture if/when advertising income goes away.
So, if you have a problem with feeling too optimistic about the future, or slacking off at work, read this book and meditate on the future. It’ll fix that for you. And make you a more wide-awake, effective professional.
As far as things I wish were different: It’s a less scholarly work that The Attention Merchants, there’s a LOT of reliance on the point of view of one person (Michael Kassan), which leaves you looking for a wee bit more balance at times (or maybe that the bad news would stop). None of these quibbles dim the books appeal, though. Just keep them in mind…
Links for the show:
Ad Age article: Good summary of the rebate issue, and gives you a sense of how the story developed before 2015
MediaLink website: Worth checking out!