Business

What do you expect from your ad agency?

It would be interesting to know what you thought of the service your local ad agency provides you. Here's your chance.

Make suggestions of what you'd like and/or give examples of what you hate. But be aware, any direct negative comments regarding named agencies may be edited to remain objective. Don't let that stop you though. Blog on.

::sharon

23 thoughts on “What do you expect from your ad agency?”

  1. Hmh.. I wonder if people could also leave examples of things they like about their ad agencies and the things which have worked well.

  2. Of course they can Vidya. Even though I believe, agencies will gain far more by learning what their clients would like but seldom get. The intention is for them to impove their client services where possible.

  3. My secretary received a call from a local television station some days ago, saying that our company owed them $126,000 because our advertising agency has not paid them.

    We paid this money to the agency already. But here it is that they did not pass it on to the channel like they should. The TV station keeps calling. What should we do?

  4. Harrod, this sort of thing unfortunately is very common in Guyana. Since ad agencies are allowed to place your ads on credit with media houses, some unscrupulous ones abuse the privilege, leaving your company in a bad light. Here’s what to do.

    First, remind the TV station that you have no ‘direct contract’ with them and therefore, they are calling the wrong person. They need to obtain their money from the agency they did business with. Have them know however, that you will address the matter with your agency to avoid such incidents in future. Wish them well and say goodbye. That should take care of the calls.

    Now for the agency. Let them know that you do not appreciate media houses calling you on these matters. Tell them they are ruining your reputation with the media and you cannot afford that. Then give them a time frame in which to pay off all they owe the media on your account.

    If money is still owed when this time elapses, offer to pay the media house on their behalf in exchange for creative services – designs, etc. Note: If it comes to this, ensure they are charging you their standard prices for services and not over-billing you in order to cover the cost quickly.

    That should fix your problem Harrod! In addition to sending your agency a very strong message on their media buying malpractices.

    If you don’t take this approach, it can escalate to the point where media houses begin to refuse your company’s ads. Quite the nightmare.

    :: Lesson: Always live well with the media. They are crucial to your public relations and advertising initiatives as a business.

  5. What does blogging have to do with ads and agencies?
    I don’t see the connection.

    Also, I believe that the Guyanese advertisement depts. have alot to learn and do, like most things in Guyana. It lacks creativity, originality and structure.

    Nice blog though

  6. Allow me to connect the dots for you Monologist.

    As you too have acknowledged, the services offered by most of Guyana’s advertising agencies lack the fundamentals of good, respectable advertising practice. This blog aims to tackle such specific issues and further, attempt to fix the problem by sensitizing the clients (businesses) of some of these agencies.
    :: If the client has the inside scoop, he/she can demand better from their agency. They’ll have to buck up eventually.

    Unlike the average blog, this one is not intended to just be a place for the host to prattle about his/her ideologies idly. It serves as a hub for businesses to give feedback and learn.

    If they so wished, they can even send me their particular advertising/marketing problems and I’ll suggest ways of solving them – free. Sometimes in candid ways their ad agencies may not appreciate.
    :: Bottom line, the clients would stop getting ripped off by some of the shams that exist.

  7. Ok vidya, here goes. We use many agencies as no one agency here can handle the entire product line. Recently this year a member of staff recommended a small obsure agency that I’d never hear of.(won’t name it here, Sharon won’t let me). I gave them a shot. It was the best decision I made. They worked closly with the marketing dept, and got to know the product inside and out, then began to make recommendations. And best of all when they action an agreed campaign they get involved in the footwork. They treat the campaign as though it’s their product line. The motto here is that bigger is not always better. Small, hungry and lean can do a more efficient job.

  8. so your main theme is that the cliente is not aware of better advertisement strategies? I don’t know, I think they are, but they live in a sub-par society where they can’t get the ‘best’ hence they settle. Either way, it’s a good thing you’re doing.

    You’re also going to educate business for free on advertisements?
    Hmm… why? I mean what’s the catch here? It doesn’t make sense that you’ll take your valuable information and give it freely to others.

    Or is one of the aim to popularize your blog [which is a good thing too, since you’re giving this info freely]

    Also, how do you differ from other agents? Meaning, don’t get me wrong or anything, but what’s your qualifications in the advertisement world in Guyana? What makes you different than the other agents?
    Thanks a bunch =)

  9. Monologist, in Guyana, it’s a combination of two things in most cases. The sub-standard advertising coming from agencies, as well as the client’s inability to sometimes want better standards for their promotional campaigns.

    For those that do, they don’t always know how to help themselves when agencies give them crap. They see the crap. They know it’s crap. But they can’t always decipher why it’s crap. So they cannot really suggest to their agencies ways of fixing it. Ways on how to achieve higher standards for their brand, ultimately.

    On the issue of ‘what’s the catch?’, I’m amazed at what our world has come to. If anyone offers to genuinely help someone else with no strings attached, you’re automatically suspected as having a motive. If you must know, I do have a motive.

    I just want to do something about the crap, rather than complain about it like most people. Our local advertising industry is an embarrassment and we have no idea how much it keeps us back as a nation. How do we expect to compete with international brands at this rate? How do we expect to reach our fullest sales potential so our economy grows?

    Qualifications… ‘in the advertising world in Guyana’? Guyana offers no such qualifications. I was educated in Britain after my secondary level in Guyana. What I do have from here, is more than 9 years experience promoting local and international brands. Which in some ways can probably be considered ‘a university of life’ in itself… LOL.

    Glad to have answered your questions. And thanks for the compliments you tend to drop in here and there.

  10. Hello Sharon, I’ve return again =) Sorry for the questioning and the third degree, don’t get me wrong, my intentions aren’t to hinder you, but to inquire more about what you’re doing.

    For the most part I agree with you here, but I disagree with your statement on the client’s inability to want better standards, for the mere fact it doesn’t make sense to me. Now, perhaps I’m living in a different lala world or something, but if someone is selling a product you’ll generally want the best way and means for the product to be promoted, you just don’t know how to, and hence why you hire an agent.
    If customers need ideas and trends many Guyanese get American cable TV and with that thier commercials, you see the quality of how the product is being marketted and the wit behind it.
    Even more so, Guyana also imports more than it exports, with Guyanese wanting to eat more foreign brands than their hearty local ones. It all has to do with the advertisements and the appeals of such brands. Hence it’s out there, and they know it is too.

    Frankly it also seems likely that if you want your brand to be shown in a certain light you market it that way, and if your agent gives you sub-par crap then you shouldn’t take it. Hence, this will force agents to change their techniques.
    Which brings me back to the original point, Guyanese normally settle for sub-par, while their Caribbean counterparts don’t.

    Glad to hear of your qualifications too, but can’t it be said for other agents [in terms of experience]. The interesting part about you, if I may be so bold, is your inability to accept these sub-standards and you’re raising the bar in advertisement.

    Good luck, also, I may write an article on your blog, soon which I hope you don’t mine.
    Sincerely

  11. As to my statement about ‘some clients not wanting better standards’, it does not make sense to me either. But in Guyana, unfortunately, that’s the living reality with some clients. I refer to Anand’s earlier comment:

    “Many times the agencies hands are tied. They action exactly what clients want, and within low budgets.” [#9: ‘ugly ads topic’]

    That statement you see there is the source of it all. That’s where it all starts.

    Don’t misjudge me, I believe this is an acceptable position clients have. They are marketing people. They have to think ‘bang for your buck, dollars and cents’ every time. And they should continue to.

    But in doing so, they sometimes get carried away. They compromise their brand’s integrity and value. Not realizing how much they are hindering their own ability to be respected and be appealing to their target. Their own ability to compete effectively with other brands in the long term is also lost.

    This blog aims to tackle this issue, in addition to addressing the matter of unsatisfactory ad agency performance to the few who actually want to embrace the better standards but can’t anyway because their agency shoots crap.

  12. I especially wanted to highlight your comment about ‘Guyana importing more than it exports’. An ideal example of packaging and distribution issues we suffer.

    Right now, indeed, Guyana does this. Which is not always the progressive thing to do since we can produce many of the same things we import everyday. But what’s worst is, we’ll have to continue this silly practice. Because most local products insist on inferior package design and cannot seem to always keep their distribution consistent with demand. Two major blunders in marketing.

    Because of this, our domestic consumers will always prefer the foreign brands over some local brands. And if we were to aspire to export these local brands, they wouldn’t be able to compete in the real brand world anyway.

    Some clients tend to opt for different packaging. Sub-standard packaging for Guyana but superior packaging for export. Smart! But acts against them again.

    They water down their brand’s impact by not having ‘a singe brand image’. Something that makes the difference between whether your brand stays low key or becomes a global one. Plus, they pay more for label printing because they cannot benefit from volume discounts as much as they should.

  13. Excellent suggestion on the ads! Clients should definately pay closer attention to the wit and quality of the international ads. Then, aspire to have the same produced for them.

    Even more reason why they need to wip their agency in shape, or move their account all together.

  14. I have not read all the comments, simply because I do not have the time but I spotted ‘wit’ in the last comment and have to say that one major downfall of advertisers in Guyana is that it would appear as though they think that they have to mention every little pin they offer for sale and that it is being sold at 5% off this Friday.

    It’s a joke. Advertisers do not seem to get the ‘get them in the store’ principle. The hardest part is getting the customer in the store (that is what your ads should be designed for) and then your salesmanship should take care of the rest from there.

    Of course this is only one dimension of advertising, as it only speaks to product oriented advertising but it is the most common in Guyana. We can discuss the other dimensions later.

    Regards
    GMC

  15. Hmmm…interesting GMC, I hadn’t noticed that all bloggers so far seemed to have Indian names. Guess I could have trusted you to point that out. Quite frankly, I fail to see the relevance.

    Please understand that’s not something I control, nor do I care to. It’s just not constructive or part of what this blog is about.

    So be a good boy and don’t turn this positive initiative into something racial. Ok? We suffer enough from that level of nonsense on a daily basis especially around Election time in Guyana…which is why we never get anywhere.

    This blog, for a change, aims to get somewhere. So let’s keep it clean.

    P.S. You left out ‘Harrod’. Scroll up. Could that beliberate?

  16. If you’ve ever heard of social engineering, you’d understand what I mean. Go ask your friend over at that cola company who they spent two years deliberately recruiting Afro-Guyanese to bring their company in line with reality after they suddenly realised (hiccup) that was sheer coolie people in de place.

    When you have a blog of this nature with it rooted in Guyanese discussion, if at some time you realise that the posters are all mainly Indo or Afro, you’ve got to do some social engineering to ensure that the perception of it being a coolie people forum or a black people forum does not galvanize itself in people’s minds.

    What then should you do? Perhaps one of two things or both. Encourage your Afro-Guyanese friends to join the discussion and if that does not work then perhaps you need to post some comments under Afro-sounding names.

    Here, I’ll help you this time.

    Cheerio
    GMC

  17. Joseph:

    Welcome and thank you very much for your comment. As much as I’m fully aware of our social handicaps in Guyana; this ridiculous need to always be sorting the blacks from the coolies, the Afros from the Indos – I’m sorry. I refuse to hassle my black friends or falsify responses to make anyone feel better about their ignorance. That’s like asking me to be dishonest.

    If at this stage of knowledge, anyone still has racial views or beliefs, they need to fix themselves. Grow-up. Tweak their brain. We’re all Guyanese. In the same pot, suffering the same problems, sharing the same burdens.

    In this pot, our ad industry happens to be crap so we all have that problem. It hinders our growth as an economic society. Therefore, as Black or as Indian we all may be, we should unite and fix it. If we always took time out to address racial issues that shouldn’t be there in the first place, we’ll have no time left to make Guyana what it should be. Perhaps that’s why we’re still third world.

    As for friends over at some cola company, smart of them to recruit the best candidates for the job, Black or Indian. That’s standard business practice as far as I can tell. So bravo to them! They’re selling brands!

    Just remember that this blog is and always will be, genuinely opened to anyone who cares to post on it.

    I’ll look forward to your views in future Joseph, not because you conveniently have a black name. But because you are human with something interesting to contribute to the discussion.

    Happy blogging.

  18. To Sharon: In response #9 you said that you have …”9 years experience promoting local and international brands.” Since you seem to be marketing yourself as a bit of an expert in advertising, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind telling us some of the brands you’ve promoted. Just curious.

  19. Well bloggers i really think if we will be giving ideas about ads we should give examples and say how it can be better. Also with the literacy rate currently on a downslide i think that all ads should be in standard english.

  20. Thank you for your input Natasha. I agree with the latter half of your comment however, you may have to forgive me on your call for giving ‘actual’ examples of ads. That approach will likely pose direct attacks on brands/companies that are not upholding best practices; and, rather than creating objective discussions that air views and provide solutions… there will be brand wars, enemies and the overall breakdown of meaningful dialogue. I’d rather we describe the actual ‘scenarios’. This creates the same opportunities to address ‘how things could be made better’ in a way that ensures neutrality. It has been done successfully on Voiceovergy many times and I trust you will understand.

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