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Deutsch LA Solves AdLand's Talent Problem
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We've been looking forward to hearing how Deutsch LA solved the talent problem in AdLand. For far too long has AdLand been parading around, lost, and without a leader. Once we heard that Deutsch LA had something up their sleeves, we were excited to hear what they came up with. Deutsch LA even teamed up with the 4A's in order to get a wider base and put some "umph" behind the findings. 

Let's be clear that the people within the industry do not make finding the answer easy. The individualistic, "against the system," unconventional mentality that surrounds AdLand makes it tough to please every single person and to stroke every single ego. 

But something has to give.

The findings that the shop and 4A's released were not all that surprising. The ones that were surprising were more disheartening. Here is a quick rundown:

  • The number one reason people left their agency job for a new job was growth opportunity
  • 47% said they wanted ownership in the work they do
  • 65% said the most creative person they know isn't in advertising
  • 67% said that in agency life, it is harder to do great creative than it used to be
  • 43% said they fell into advertising rather than searching for it
  • 1 out of 4 said that they don't love advertising, while 50% would be open to looking into other industries

Interesting picture, right? We are surprised to see the number of those who came into AdLand by accident. Along with the overwhelming number of those who know more creative people outside the creative industry, that speaks trouble for the agency world. Of course, the answer could be subjected to opinion in what those people consider "creative" to look like. 

Then Deutsch LA and 4A's came up with five takeaways for agencies:

  1. Be less of a Fortune 500 company and more of a start-up.
  2. Let them play: invest more in research and development.
  3. Work in smaller teams.
  4. Advocate cross-training; provide more learning opportunities.
  5. Keep the entrepreneur spirit: support side projects.

We've been hearing #1 for almost a year now; agencies should see that the traditional model is losing to the startup model where everyone is a manager and helps run the business. The other four are philosophies heralded in Silicon Valley and other innovation-leaning companies, so we aren't too shocked by the recommendations. It seems that we should be more surprised that AdLand has not yet adopted this way of thinking.

What do you think? Will this study help the agencies in AdLand get back on the right track and keep the talent?

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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