Reading the ANA’s #TakeOurIndustryBack manifesto earlier this week, I found myself disproportionately pissed off.
Growing talent, promoting transparency, being inclusive, advocating for causes – nothing in this one-page, CMO-driven manifesto is particularly objectionable.
Except it’s basic premise.
That somehow these things are the solution to reversing declining ad effectiveness and the general consolidation in our industry. That somehow, these small-minded, perhaps no-shit-Sherlock, initiatives are the Mount Sinai stone tablet solutions to a huge issue.
Guess what, CMOs? The real root of the problem is sitting a few doors down from you and drawing a salary that makes yours look like a naughty kid’s milk money. Those CEO paychecks makes your humble millennial marketing coordinators’ salaries look even sadder.
So while advocating for better media transparency is a great idea, if you want a solution for growth, perhaps you high-falutin national advertisers should just pay your people better.
You see, gross income inequality, lack of prospects, disloyal employers and crippling uncertainty have bred an entire generation of Americans without the hope and certainty it takes to buy a whole bunch of stuff. I'm buying a house right now, and I'm scared as shit because that means I'm dependent upon you fickle and undependable assholes.
It’s thanks to your crap policies that your millennial employees have developed a frugality borne out of skepticism that’s pressure cooking our industry. This marketing industry – caught between a young public that’s not buying what we’re selling and a completely irresponsible corporate leadership whose skyrocketing expectations are only outpaced by their irrationally ballooning salaries.
All of this shit runs on hope and optimism. All of it. You know, just this little thing we call capital-C Capitalism.
Seriously, even crap marketing works better when people feel hopeful for the future. Imagine what the good stuff can do under those circumstances.
So here’s a better answer to how to bring back prosperity in marketing: just fucking treat your people better. Pay them better. And while you’re at it, try paying your agency and media partners better. Stop this RFP-fueled race to the bottom behind dog-whistle terms like best practices and analytics and fresh thinking.
Because we hardworking under-40 agency folks like me are your potential consumers. So stop being such entitled messiah-complex dickholes. Get your bosses to loosen up those gravity-strained purse strings and watch us buy a whole bunch of meaningless crap just like our forefathers.
XOXO – Some Nobody Fucking Copywriter
ADDENDUM: Lest you think I'm just some entitled young'un who thinks the world owes him something, consider the fact that the Economic Policy Institute is saying pretty much the same thing. Oh, and here's The Atlantic and Fast Company covering the shift in millennial consumption trends. For what its worth, I think the Fast Company thesis that a shift in attitudes towards ownership is a much smaller factor than the economic trends. Millennials would have cat-with-heart-eye-emoji feelings for just as many products if we hadn't had the stars knocked out of our eyes by massively depressing economic factors and general hopelessness.