i'm with the brand


Complacent? FITC delivers a swift kick in the pants to agency dinosaurs-in-the-making
March 22, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , , , ,

last ad agency on earth

Urging true creativity over cut-and-paste, FITC, which puts on design and technology events, is encouraging old-school agencies to become nimbler and more inventive with their digital work–before it’s too late.

In a video to promote their upcoming digital conferences, FITC creates a Discovery Channel Pompeii Special of sorts chronicling the fall of the “Last Advertising Agency on Earth.” It’s funny, and I’m sure it hits close to home for many branding professionals who have lived through just the sort of dysfunctional head-in-the-sand environment the video describes, but it seems a bit of a harsh indictment to me–I’m unwilling to believe that no big agency has learned how to embrace new media (at least on a case-by-case basis) this late in the online game (seriously, guys–partying like it’s 1999, are you?). But there may be a kernel of truth under the heaps of tardy exaggeration–for every gem of inspired digital, there’s a truckload of unimaginative nonsense, and it’s perhaps less about digital per se and more about combating a culture of complacency: it’s about knowing how best to play the game in new and ever-changing spaces, whatever and wherever they may be.

In an ironic twist, it’s agency behemoth Saatchi & Saatchi Canada that helped produce the very video that takes shots at agency behemoths. Funny times, give it a watch:

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Murray Hill Inc. runs for Congress, sticks it to the man little guy
Murray Hill

Ill-gotten influence--it's our birthright!

In the wake of Citizens United v FEC, the harebrained January Supreme Court decision that gave corporations to right to make direct political campaign contributions as an extension of free speech (and in so doing insidiously and ominously granted corporations legal “personhood”), liberal-leaning political PR firm Murray Hill is running for Congress in Maryland’s 8th district.

Throwing their hat in for the state’s Republican primary, Murray Hill (Incorporated, they’re eager to add at every opportunity) is running under the slogan that “Corporations are people too!” The New York Times reports that “Campaign Manager William Klein promises an aggressive, historic campaign that ‘puts people second’ or even third.” The firm also has plans to fight for its right to vote as a citizen—it’d be a hard-won right, to be sure. (I’m tearing up at the injustice of it all. Power to you, Murray Hill; may your time come soon.)

This astute campaign may be hilariously absurd and tongue-in-cheek, but underneath it all it’s bitter—and deadly serious. The campaign deftly exposes the mockery the Court’s decision makes of the political process and an independent government, and the real dangers it ultimately exposes us to as a free people. What’s truly tragicomic is that in campaigning to be an elected legislative representative, Murray Hill still fails at being evil–if elected, they would, after all, be using more legitimate means of influencing policy than most corporations do today.

This campaign may be the best agency ad in recent memory: it amps their cred as a go-to firm for lefty causes (they have a long history representing labor unions and environmental organizations), and shows that as a PR firm, Murray Hill knows how to run riot in the PR game.

Their website is worth your time. And so is their spot-on campaign ad:

(Thanks to Rose for the tip!)