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18/05/2006 - par Mark Tungate

Imust be extremely naive, because I have only just realised that advertising people will do anything to retain a client. While some of them claim that advertising is an art (Bill Bernbach certainly thought so), their main motivation is commerce. Clients and cash come first, and if these elements looks like they may go flying out of the window, integrity is trampled into the dust in the rush to stop them leaving.

How did I come to this belated conclusion ? Some of you may know that I'm currently working on a book about advertising. In order to do this, I have set up interviews with leading advertising people all over the world. And because I believe in doing things properly, I have set aside time and money (MY money) to go and interview them in person, in their offices.

Despite the fact that I have made appointments months in advance and paid for train and airplane tickets and hotel rooms, no less than four advertising people in three different countries have cancelled our interviews at the last minute. (None of them have been French, by the way.) The excuse : « a client needs to see him ».

Are advertising people really so lacking in self-esteem that they are prepared to rearrange their entire day when a client beckons ? Apparently, the answer is yes. Clients must adore working with such servile suppliers. Now, I accept that being interviewed by me is unlikely to be the most important item on anyone's agenda. But at least I still have my pride.

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