Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

The Simple Ad Agency Life

January 28th, 2005 by Bob Bly

In a recent segment of the reality TV series The Simple Life, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were interning at a New York creative ad agency.

The boss gave Nicole a terribly important assignment: reserving a table for lunch at a trendy NYC restaurant that is usually booked up a week in advance.

When Nicole completed the task successfully, the agency owner told her, ?I think you have what it takes to make it in this business!?

Unfortunately, I don?t think he was joking.

The three-martini lunch on Madison Avenue is a clich?, but amazingly, certain businesses ? advertising and publishing among them ? still seem to embrace it.

Here?s what this says to me about the agency employing Paris and Nicole:

1. They are so untalented that their method of making a client happy is to take him to lunch.

2. They place little value on their time (these fancy restaurant lunches can easily take 2 hours or more).

3. They don?t offer real value (in terms of increasing client ROI), and they hope by entertaining the client well no one will notice.

Maybe I?m just reading too much into this. But in my 25 years in marketing ? 23 years as a freelance copywriter and 2 years on the client side ? I saw too many agencies who viewed taking the client to a fancy lunch as their major achievement.

How sad — and pathetic.


This entry was posted on Friday, January 28th, 2005 at 10:40 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

87 responses about “The Simple Ad Agency Life”

  1. Jim Logan said:

    Now I know exactly why this show bothers me and I’ve never felt the urge to watch it…although, the fascination of watching a car wreck comes to mind.

    It’s business without substance.

    How many marketing, sales, advertising, and public relations consultants and firms would ever offer their clients terms of business to the effect of “if the services we provide don’t substantially advance your business objective, don’t pay us?”

    If the agency you cited were compensated on the basis of their work-product and measurable difference they provided their customer, their lunch likely would have been a working session in their office.

  2. Susan Getgood said:

    I don’t watch reality tv at all (unless you count the occasional episode of Queer Eye) so maybe it was explained on the show, but I’d like to know, just how stupid was the boss? Of course a famous/rich person can score a reservation at a trendy, popular restaurant. This is not an indication of success in the advertising, or any, business.

    As to the wisdom or value of long lunches with clients, I do think social connections with clients like the OCCASIONAL lunch out are useful, but certainly not as a replacement for good quality work.

  3. Shelle Castles-Melton said:

    LOL – I’d have to agree with you Bob. Sad, but true.

    Hey, try living in my small town. It’s the good-ole-boy system here and there are two local ad agencies which are considered ‘high-end.’ Neither of them want me for freelance work – at all. But both of them want me to work for them full time. Geez, wonder why?? *rolling eyes*

    I stay out of our local market for the most part though, because they’ve got it saturated, but they do the exact same thing. Client lunches and big bashes every year with their clients to show off their work. Sad, huh?

  4. Bob McCarthy said:

    I don’t know, Bob … I think you’re reaching with this one.

    I agree the three-martini lunch is a poor excuse for client service, but I think we all know that selling is, in part, a relationship business. And the occasional lunch or drink or evening out at a ball game can be a very good relationship builder.

    Sure we can all do a better job of communicating with our customers and prospects through the mail, the telephone and the internet, but there is nothing wrong with spending some “face” time as well.

    As for the work product itself, I’m not sure that lunch at a fancy restaurant necessarily disqualifies anyone from doing good work.

    Like you, Bob, I have been a long-time critic of general “image-only” advertising that puts more emphasis on style than substance. I have very little patience for the whole “creative and awards-show” mentality that drives the advertising industry. (Sadly, I think this mentality has crept its way into the direct marketing industry as well.)

    But who should we blame here – the advertising agency or the client?

    Like it not, there are still many, many marketing directors out there who judge advertising and marketing services not by ROI performance but on the basis of a creative portfolio. Pathetic? Yes, but it’s reality.

    The late direct marketing and advertising pioneer, David Ogilvy, spent a good part of his career lambasting general advertising agencies for their ineffective and unmeasurable advertising. In one article I remember, he wrote something to the effect “You Generalists must be damn good sales people to get clients to buy what you’re selling.”

    He was being sarcastic, of course, but he was right. General ad agencies are very good at selling – they are good at selling themselves.

    I may not like what they sell or how they sell it, but I’ll give them this: they know what their customers want to buy and they give it to them – three-martini lunches or not.

    Bob McCarthy
    McCarthy & King Marketing, Inc.
    Milford, MA

  5. Shelle Castles-Melton said:

    Totally unrelated to this topic – but very interesting and thought you might like to see this:

  6. Bruce DeBoer said:

    Let’s talk branding here. Let’s say you are the agency CEO and you were approached by the network producing A Simple Life (simple mind is more like it – but I digress) with the offer of having Paris Hilton join your agency during the show. Would you have linked your agency brand with the Paris Hilton brand by saying, “I think you have what it takes to join our team”? Holy S**T – not even as a joke!

    – b

  7. erectile dysfunction said:

    erectile dysfunction .

  8. Rudrich Mel said:

    medal of honor

  9. Model Slp said:

    hip pop music

  10. james bond sex said:

    james bond sex

    james bond sex

  11. bottle pussy wine said:

    bottle pussy wine

    bottle pussy wine

  12. brand bontril said:

    brand bontril .

  13. OnlineDrugstore said:

    Online Drugstore Online Drugstore

  14. big butt black strippers said:

    big butt black strippers

    big butt black strippers

  15. how to self anal fisting said:

    how to self anal fisting

    how to self anal fisting

  16. ebony lesbian porn said:

    ebony lesbian porn

    ebony lesbian porn

  17. wet lesbians and dildos said:

    wet lesbians and dildos

    wet lesbians and dildos

  18. tiny girls sex blowjob said:

    tiny girls sex blowjob

    tiny girls sex blowjob

  19. free porn download clips said:

    free porn download clips

    free porn download clips

  20. Aide Bantin said:

    Jane, you should contact me. Your second cousin.

  21. Escort-Mumbai said:

    The author gone through so much thinking and research for writing this article. What a great post. Keep it up!!.
    What an Article. I really want to read more on this topic. It is very interesting and well written topic. I want to read more of this. Please post more posts.

  22. Rozy Mumbai said:

    he author gone through so much thinking and research for writing this article. What a great post. Keep it up!!.
    What an Article. I really want to read more on this topic. It is very interesting and well written topic. I want to read more of this. Please post more posts.

  23. smart switch pc said:

    I don’t know, Bob … I think you’re reaching with this one.

    I agree the three-martini lunch is a poor excuse for client service, but I think we all know that selling is, in part, a relationship business. And the occasional lunch or drink or evening out at a ball game can be a very good relationship builder.

    Sure we can all do a better job of communicating with our customers and prospects through the mail, the telephone and the internet, but there is nothing wrong with spending some “face” time as well.

    smart switch pc to transfer your data securely

  24. ropa de estilo rockero said:

    good job

  25. Vadodara Escorts said:


  26. kingroot for pc said:

    kingroot for pc
    kingroot pc
    download kingroot pc
    Now that you are done with KingRoot, restart BlueStacks once again.

  27. cyberflix tv for pc said:

    great post

  28. gmail login said:

    This is a very interesting post and all the details are in this post are awesome.

  29. Nouman Shakeel said:

    Amazing post.

    think and grow rich
    top 10 biggest cities in the world

  30. Plokantsgur said:

    Are you searching genuine guidelines on the Bartell Drugs Customer Satisfaction Survey??? Do you really want to take the Bartell Drugs survey or Bartell Drugs Guest Feedback

  31. dogoro said:

    A November bout between welterweight titleholder Spence vs Garcia ppv has been rescheduled for December 5, 2020, at AT&T Stadium.

  32. ???? ??? ???? ??????? said:

    This is a very interesting post! Thanks!

  33. kgrn audit said:

    Best blog to read, Thanks for sharing this article. Accounting firms in dubai

  34. David Hamburg said:

    How to Fix Sorry, No Manipulations With Clipboard Allowed on Mac

  35. A A Consultancy said:

    Enjoyed reading your blog. Please check my latest post on the best accounting services in dubai and let me know what you think.

  36. ajith said:

    Project Management Software is software used by a wide range of industries for project planning, resource allocation and scheduling. It enables project managers as well as entire teams to control their budget, quality management and all documentation exchanged throughout a project.

  37. fecaysds said:

    The Fight Club, helping to select fighters and musical acts for the show-stopping events. An entertainment expert Lopez Kambosos live online who has successfully maneuvered through a range of projects in a variety of different fields, Snoop secured his spot as a fan favorite.

  38. capigidsds said:

    KSW XI they are split, with the tournament final taking place on the ksw 64 next event. KSW XV is the first event without a new tournament, only with extra fights and finals from previous tournaments.

  39. radssmsds said:

    The repatriated salaries of its overseas stars have become All Blacks Fiji rugby stream an important part of some local economies.

  40. rafesdssds said:

    The competition was postponed to reduce pressure on the public services in affected countries and allow for the completion Soccer Euro live coverage of domestic leagues that had been suspended. The tournament will still retain the name “UEFA Euro 2020”.

  41. mAHROO said:

    this is good to learn English and Turkish and Germany.

  42. S M Nahid said:

    Softowa is the Best Android App & Windows Software Download Store.

  43. DownBeach Remodeling said:

    nice post
    Hardwood Flooring Installation Egg Harbor Township NJ

  44. Corwin said:

    Pugs for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale near me,teacup pug,pug puppies near me,teacup pugs,teacup pug puppies for sale,pug puppy for sale,mini pug,baby pugs for sale,pug breeders near me,pugs puppies for sale,black pug puppies for sale,miniature pugpug puppies,pugs for sale near me,pugs for sale near me,pugs puppies,black pugs for saleteacup pug puppies for sale,pugs for sale,baby pugs for sale,mini pug,teacup puppies for sale near me,pug puppy for sale utah,pug puppy for sale near me,pug puppy for sale cheap,pug puppy for sale ohio,pug puppy for sale in tennessee,pug puppy for sale massachusetts,pug puppy for sale illinois,pug puppy for sale in pa,pug puppy for sale texas,pug puppy for sale az,pug puppy for sale arkansas,pug puppy for sale atlanta,pug puppy for sale adelaide,pug puppy for sale australia,pug puppies for sale alberta,pug puppies for sale austin texas,

  45. robert said:

  46. narafyeesdsd said:

    On Monday at the UCI Urban World Championships in Montpellier, France, bmx champions her dream took another step forward.

  47. said:

    Awesome blog

  48. said:

    Great article

  49. samirihsd said:

    The U.S. Men’s National Rugby Team, The Eagles, will host the most AllBlack USA Rugby live successful rugby team on the planet, the New Zealand All Blacks.

  50. Joe Clark said:

    Best Qualified Leads For MCA method has several leading elements needed to modify the MCA Leads Guide to the approaching jobs in the Qualified MCA Leads Data.

  51. pilodmisds said:

    The Alabama Crimson Tide football program represents the University of Alabama in the ways to watch alabama game sport of American football.

  52. Nathan said:

    I agree with the poster above who pointed out that blogs, like other communications vehicles (like newspapers and direc) are just one of the many ways we reach out to our audiences to tell them about something — an idea, a product, a service, whatever. And in some fashion encourage/hope they’ll buy it.

    pug puppy | pug puppy for sale | pugs for sale near me | pug puppies for sale under $500 near me | pug puppies for sale under $500 | pug puppies for sale | baby pug | pugs for sale | white pug | pugs for sale | pug for sale | pug breeders near me | black pug puppies | black pug puppies for sale | teacup Pug For Sale | french bulldog puppy|french bulldog for sale|french bulldog puppies for sale|frenchie for sale|french bulldogs for sale | frenchie puppies for sale | frenchies for sale | french bulldog puppy for sale

  53. Ronald Morton said:

    sorry no manipulations with clipboard allowed

  54. what is verzuz said:

    triller verzuz tv
    all the verzuz battles
    verzuz tv online
    Fat Joe vs Ja Ruel Verzuz Battle Live Stream
    Fat Joe vs Ja Ruel Verzuz Battle
    Upcoming VerZuz Battle
    How to watch verzuz battle online?
    Triller verzuz tickets

  55. ABC said:

    Accounting firms in dubai

  56. Melissa Vonetre said:

    Here is ftx promo. You can find best ftx promo for crytpo exchange. The discount codes, offers and promo codes are free on this website. You may take advantages of all daily codes, sales and coupons.
    You may get ftx promo code from this link. Finding a real ftx promo code might be hard sometimes. At there, you may get free discount code and offers for crypto exchanges. Also, daily coupons and codes are available always.

  57. ????? ?????? ??????? said:

    ??????? ?????? ??????

  58. Real Estate Agent In Long Island said:

    Our experienced team is considered one of the best in the real estate market. We assist you in selling your houses at the best rates. You can list your Houses for Sale in Long Island on our website. We offer rental services as well so you can rent your beautiful homes. Here are a few tips to help how one can sell their home.

  59. PSW said:

    PSW is a Cleaning, Restoration and Maintenance Say goodbye to all the dirt, grime and debris and say hello to new and sparkling exteriors of residential and commercial property.

  60. Neo said:

    Neo’s Roadside Recovery provides the best tow truck and roadside assistance services in Aurora, Colorado and the surrounding areas. Our team works 24/7 and is on standby, waiting to service your roadside recovery needs. We can handle just about any small to medium sized vehicle job. We do flatbed towing, long distance towing, lockouts, gas delivery, jumpstarts, and tire services. Customer service is of high priority and you’ll quickly find out that we provide a friendly, professional and affordable service. Typical response times are 30 minutes. Our dispatch team is waiting for your call. Call us now 303-632-9667.

    aurora towing

  61. TheCareer-Coach said:

    The Career Coach takes a unique and innovative approach to train and development, offering Individuals, Teams, and Organisations bespoke Programmes, that are cost effective and guarantee a return on investment.

  62. Real Estate Agent In Long Island said:

    Are your Houses for sale in long island NY? We understand how difficult it is to make the correct decision. Our knowledgeable staff is regarded as one of the finest in the real estate industry. We help you sell your home at the best possible price.

  63. pwpic said:

    mehndi event photography colorful and memorable? Well, with a myriad of best mehndi photos, you cannot go wrong with your mehndi function photography.

  64. ?????? ????? ??????? said:

    ?? ? ???? ?????? ????

  65. ????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ????? ?? ??????? said:

    ??? ?? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???????? ????? ??? ?? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ????. ????? ????? ????? ?? ???????? ????? ????? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??????? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?????????? ?????. ?? ?? ????? ?? ???????? ????????? ?? ???????? ???? ????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ????. ?? ??? ???? ?? 3 ??? ??????? ?? ??????? ??????? ??????? ??????.

  66. Rajesh Pahan said:

    Spring Season ?? ???????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ???????? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ??, ???? ?? ??? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ?????, ??? … Spring Season In Hindi

  67. Customized Jersey said:

    Product arrive fast and I am satisfied with Customized Basketball Jersey.

  68. ????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ???????? said:

    ??? ????? ????? ???????? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ???????? ???? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ????. ????? ????? ?? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?? ????????? ?????? ????? ???????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ? ????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ????.

  69. Alexpeter said:

    Our career coaches have decades of experience and have taken thousands of interviews across different industries – so you’ll be in AMAZINGGG hands for yourInterview Tips

  70. Shanewotson said:

    Thermoplastic striping houston helps manage the space properly and directs the inflow and outflow of the traffic.

  71. Hazel James said:

    Affordable Custom Website Design Dublin that offers a complete digital solution in taking your business online. Our Award Winning Agency not only devises strategies for your brand, but we own it like our own. We are the best web design agency in Dublin & Web designers in Dublin Ireland.

  72. Flormar said:

    Buy Flormar nail polish online in Pakistan for women on reasonable price at with fast shipping. Quick delivery.

  73. tobycarvery said:

    Airport Taxis provide the services of pick and drop from Airport to your desired destination

  74. RobertHalf said:

    Marketing collateral desgin services were previously limited to brochures only but not anymore. As the marketing channels have increased so marketing collaterals have also taken a new form as blog posts, case studies, newsletter, email marketing, press releases, white paper, product guide or catalogue etc.

  75. Rivaj UK said:

    Grab amazing cosmetics and related products like primer makeup and the best primer, only from Rivaj. So, grab their best primers today and enjoy. Their primer makeup sets are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction. Rivaj offers the best primer makeup to their customers all the time.

  76. Rios Cosmetics said:

    Rios provides wide range of best beauty blender with reasonable prices in all over Pakistan. The store aims to provide satisfaction through high quality products such as beauty blenders and beauty blender sponges.

  77. Servis Shoes said: is a leading online store that offers Sneakers for men and other products at the lowest prices. Our product range includes Sneakers for men, Sandals, Chappals, Casual Wear & Formal Wear, Sports Shoes and Peshawari Sandals in various sizes. Our collection is updated regularly so that you have the latest designs at your disposal.

  78. Sifa pk said:

    Upgrade your wardrobe with Sifa pret lawn collection. Sifa provides wide range of latest pret lawn online in all over pakistan at reasonable prices.

  79. Marketing Agency said:

    Branding is critical to business because of the overall impact and makes memorable impression on your consumers. IT Brain software House services will help your company to build trust with consumers, potential clients and customers.

    We value efficiency, productivity & speed. We believe in our proven practices to help you understand & solve the right user problem

  80. Wajahat Elahi said:

    At Charcoal, we have the best quality Leather Jackets for men with Premium quality available in our Winter collection. That too at the best prices available. Charcoal is a fast growing company being engaged in the business of manufacturing, import and supply/sale of all type of clothing. All the products and services are designated and protected by trademark (Charcoal). The “Charcoal” is well known brand with a large customer base.

  81. shaypari said:

    advance fitness by Bilal Brothers, established in 1979, is the leader in exercise, fitness, gymnasium, and indoor sports equipment all over Pakistan. We work only with the world’s top brands and are proud to serve our customers with top-notch after-sales service.

  82. radiomohajerat said:

    ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ??????

  83. bertgil said:

    Best Shisha in Ireland offers you a wide range of shisha with flavourful drinks to go with it. Bring in your friends and family and enjoy the secluded atmosphere we offer you. We are offering amazing deals on drinks and shisha combos throughout the week.

  84. ash12 said:

    Affordable Flights from FlightsnTravel provide the best flights to their costumer to travel around the globe with their love one, once in a Blue Moon.

  85. kacifasas said:

    The competition will highlight a comparable timetable to the 2022 season, Hurricanes super rugby live stream with 91 matches played in a cooperative followed by knockout configuration.

  86. lajoasa said:

    It will be the fourth Super Bowl facilitated by the Phoenix metropolitan NFL Football Final 2023 region, with the latest being Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, likewise held at State Ranch Arena then called College of Phoenix Arena. The game will be broadcast broadly by Fox. The halftime show will be featured by Rihanna.

  87. bogoasas said:

    The New Zealand public rugby association group, ordinarily Watch All Blacks vs Wallabies Rugby live known as the All Blacks addresses New Zealand in men’s worldwide rugby association, which is viewed as the country’s public game.

Leave a Reply