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A letter to clients - formerly the most important people in advertising

Dave Birss has a message for clientsDave Birss has a message for clients

Dear clients,

You used to be everything to us. We worshipped you. Whatever you asked us to do, we'd do it without question.

You wanted us to make you look cool and sexy? We did that without hesitation. You wanted us to tell people how great you were? We shouted it loud and clear. You had all of our attention. You were all we cared about.

But you better sit down now.

There's something we need to tell you.

It's over.

You're no longer our number one. We've found someone else. They're called the audience.

Please don't start crying. This is all for your own good.

You see, simply feeding your self-interest isn't doing you any favours any more. It used to be OK for us to just buy some airtime or column-inches and use them to sing your praises. There were limited media-choices in those days and your money was helping to fund much of the content. The audience tolerated it because you were adding value by allowing them to watch the A-team and get The Sun for just 10p.

But that utopian world couldn't last forever.

There's now more content than people could consume in a hundred lifetimes. Most of it for free (either legally or illegally). The handful of communication channels we once had have shattered into a billion pieces. And advertising has gone from being the enabler of a limited amount of content to an unwelcome inconvenience. You've stopped adding value.

And that's why, for your own good, we need to focus our love on the audience.

Because if we don't offer them something that's of value to them, we won't have their attention. And we'll just end up wasting your money shouting a self-interested message to an empty room.

We hope you'll understand.

Yours most sincerely,

The agencies

Dave Birss is the founder of Additive, the inspiration and training company. He’s a former creative director of Poke, OgilvyOne and McCann Worldgroup and hosts the Future of Advertising Podcast where he talks to top people in the industry to find out where they think the future lies. He also mentors at the School of Communication Arts, hires out his mind to agencies, speaks at conferences around the world and recently wrote 'A User Guide to the Creative Mind'

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