That’s one of the many stirring quotables from a blog post published last week at John Winsor’s blog.
John is the CEO of Victors and Spoils, the new model (ad) agency that’s applying crowdsourcing models to creativity.
The piece is really quite inspiring, drawing a distinction between the great people and creativity you find in advertising, and the business of that business “which really sucks”.
In the post, John discusses the impact of abundance on the advertising industry. It’s a big theme that we saw Clay Shirky applying to the broad sweep of human history and nature at SXSW this year. In this context, both John Winsor and his guest and recent investor Jon Bond chew over the way the ad industry mistakes abundance for over-supply and commoditisation of their business models. This reminds me of another nugget from the Shirky keynote, which was actually the most re-tweeted line from it:
Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.
Both men lament the fact that structures, complexity and fear are blinding agencies to opportunities, but I have to say that neither is holding out a quick panacea – or any kind of panacea – to the legacy players. I don’t think they believe that it’s possible to change things gently and piece-by-piece without really radical renewal, by which I mean epic-scale, biblical, creative destruction. It’s not about tinkering about at the edges any longer. This paragraph nails it:
I love ad people and the ideas part of the business. It’s the “business” of the business that really sucks and brings down the rest of it. Sometimes you have to destroy something you love in order to rebuild it again, and that is what the new models, like Victors & Spoils, will do. There will be pain. But there is no alternative to the slow, painful death that has been eating away at the soul of the business for the past 15 years.
That’s my highlighting – but it can’t make for very happy reading if you run a big holding company, unless of course you don’t believe the hype and think things will sort themselves out just like they always have. I think that’s ignoring the bigger picture. I know it’s hard to imagine chaps, but what’s happening is somewhat bigger than the ad industry.