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Changed days for the advertising and media industry indeed

By Peter Seabrook-Harris, Sales Guru

December 9, 2011 | 4 min read

With the takeover of Brilliant Media by MediaCom last week, Peter Seabrook-Harris, regional sales director for Pearl and Dean discusses the changing landscape for agencies, why it's less likely that ever that they'll use the director's names within their title, and asks whatever happened to being sociable within the industry?

Last week was apparently the 25th anniversary of the Big Bang and an old city boy painted a fond memory of when people actually met/spoke to each other, had lunch and formed long and enduring relationships. They also made good money then and they all had fun as it was indeed during the hedonisitic “Loadsa Money” period under Margaret Thatcher.

As I was listening to this piece on Radio 4 I chuckled at the obvious parallel with the advertising world which I guess has been in something of a parallel universe. Great independent agencies like Bartle Bogle Hegarty once flourished and you could set up a media buying agency with just an address book of potential clients, a telephone, a cheap office and a bucket load of optimism.

It is big corporate brands that now rule the roost today and it seems that actual personalities no longer dominate the trade press - it’s much more likely that the client/agency/media brand name leads the way rather than the person at the helm. Even agency names are more likely to be anonymous like Blue Budgie rather than the founders own names.

The business world at large today has changed beyond all recognition and new technology has largely been the key driver here but a common criticism often heard now is that relationships seem to count count for so little and even a certain remoteness has now taken over in just how we communicate

An agency chum recently pleaded (pointedly in an email) that “shouldn’t we be talking or something” and yes he had a good point. Emails often convey little emotion/tone unless you are one of those fond of using caps when throwing your toys out of the pram.

“Social Media” is Orwellian to the point of absurdity as it’s often anything other than social as it replaces that vital human factor all too often. It also turns your once normal mate’s into Tourette’s sufferers sending out random messages like Mike “has just got a pig on his farm” or “do I want to join his pirate ship”. He is 58 and lives in a tower block ….probably with his mum again.

Emails can be a Godsend but don’t let it ever take over completely from proper social and business contact. I now make a point of phoning folk whenever I can ………….. tho yes the email trail is rather handy for nailing that slippery client with a selective memory.

My Xmas card tally was pitiful last year (mostly emails saying that they’d feed a goat to a village in Botswana or provide feed for a year or something instead of sending any cards) mind you I didn’t send any either so I guess Im at fault too.

So go on, try picking up a phone sometime and having an actual chat.


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