The article that reveals the truth behind ‘scam ads’ created by ad agencies. Click to show a full-sized image

For years I’ve been warning salon & spa owners that entrusting their advertising dollars to the so-called ‘creatives’ at ad agencies is akin to standing in the shower tearing up $50 notes. Now, here’s proof, if any more were needed.

In my local paper this week, a long feature article from the head of one of this country’s best-known advertising outfits, The Brand Agency. Managing director Steve Harris out-and-out admits that

Ad agencies create ads to win awards, not to sell your product.

His very first paragraph is a killer:

“Creative advertising awards have long been the currency by which advertising agencies and their creative staff measure their success and ability.”

Not, you will note, by the quantity of actual sales the ad produces!

“Creative awards have no relationship whatsoever to the delivery of results to advertisers, the companies which pay for the ads to be developed and produced.”

And to add insult to injury,

“To produce these ‘scam ads’ the agency often finds a willing client to approve the workd and then funds the advertising production and pays for the advertising space to run the ad…these clients are taken on by the agency purely for the opportunity to produce an ad that will hopefully win an award.

“To win an award an ad must be the one most liked by a panel of advertising ‘creatives’, based on a set of creative criteria. It doesn’t actually have to sell anything…”

Well gee, roll me down the road and call me dusty.

It’s a refreshing admission from within the mysterious world of advertising itself that the smart business owner will keep his or her own counsel, continue to advertise and market their salons & spas ‘our’ way, and don’t get sucked in by the fools so willing to take your money to stroke their own ‘creative’ egos.

As famous ad man David Ogilvie was fond of saying,

“creative is what sells”

He might have added, “Not what wins awards.”