THE BLOG
10/02/2011 08:10 pm ET | Updated Dec 02, 2011

Capturing the Spirit of Advertising Week

For eight years, we've gathered for this fantastic week that brings together the best-in-class from all advertising disciplines in the spirit of celebration, cooperation and collaboration. I love this week. And one of the biggest reasons why I love it is that it brings me back to the early days when I first became passionate about our industry, a passion that remains just as strong today.

I wasn't in New York or Chicago, the hotspots of the biz. I was in a smaller community at Doner, in the wonderful city of Baltimore and just starting out in the business. We were in the middle of what became a case study pitch. All industry eyes were on Doner. The community was rooting for us. But best of all, everyone who was at the agency worked together for a single cause and purpose.

It is that spirit of cooperation and camaraderie that completely hooked me. It was a heady feeling. That same spirit is at the very heart of Advertising Week. And while you're racing around New York City for the many events, I want you stop and, pardon me, remember to smell the roses. Because you will be surrounded by like people, people gathered together by a common passion.

And passion is the driving force of creativity.

Now I want to jump on my soap box to dispel what I consider to be a myth that holds too many of us back: "No one likes creativity by committee. It never works."

I say no! Collaboration CAN work. It DOES work and it WILL work... but we have to make it work, and provide the proper dose of direction and leadership to do so. It's like Harry Truman once said: "There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit."

I speak quite often at industry events, and I am always asked about the demise of the AOR arrangement and the rise of multiple and varied agency/client relationship types. The bottom line is that clients want the best work, and they are willing to look wherever to find it.

There are many ways that clients usually get that best work. Probably the most detrimental to our industry is when a client thinks that they can just hire a bunch of different agencies, command them to collaborate, and leave it up to them to figure it out. It's kind of like putting 12 cats in a bag, closing it up and waiting a day to see who is still alive at the end. Nobody likes to wrangle cats.

But there is something to be learned, though, from this "agency soup" approach. It's not just the ingredients. And it's not just assuming collaboration and cooperation will magically happen. There's another "C" -- clarity. Without clearly defined leadership and direction, collaboration just won't happen and it certainly won't lead to a desirable outcome.

Keep that in mind this Advertising Week. We come together so easily to celebrate. Why can't we apply that same culture to every business practice and creative brainstorm, too?