Newsflash: Advertising Agency runs an Advertisement!

July 2, 2004

It so seldom happens that an advertising agency runs an advertisement for itself that the Wall Street Journal devoted its entire advertising column yesterday to cover the story.

"McCann Hopes to Restore Its Luster"

July 1, 2004; Page B8

NEW YORK — McCann Worldgroup, the jewel of ad-agency holding company Interpublic Group of Cos., is trying to shine again.

Advertising agencies regularly launch campaigns for flashy marketers such as Coca-Cola Co. or Nike Inc. — but they rarely do the same for themselves. McCann Worldgroup, which counts Microsoft Corp. and General Motors Corp. among its clients, is bucking the trend with a full-page ad that has run in Advertising Age and in yesterday’s New York regional edition of The Wall Street Journal, touting its abilities to create demand for all types of marketers.

Ad agencies never advertise. The fact that one ad, appearing in two publications is a major news story, just shows you how rare a practice it is. Certainly Coke, Budweiser or Microsoft deciding to run a ad would not be a news story.

It is the point we made in our book The Fall of Advertising, the only industry that doesn’t believe in advertising is the advertising industry itself.

It’s do as we say, not as we do. If advertising was as wonderful and effective as ad agencies promised, why don’t they use the tool to promote their own business?? Umm.

It turns out that what the advertising industry really believes in is PR. It’s why they work like crazy to win awards. You think they want those statues to put on the shelf? No. They want those statues, so they get mentioned in the advertising publication. ADWEEK, Crispin takes Cannes — amazing. Crispin Porter + Bogusky is the hottest agency in the country. Why? Because they’ve been winning awards.

And it reinforces the point we have been trying to make in our books and speeches:

PR is more powerful than advertising.