Aug 28, 2008

A rose by any other name…

Today I received an email from a good friend who is a media executive, and has been for almost 15 years now. She’s a wonderful person and an even more impressive professional, having mastered every aspect of media management – buyer, coordinator, planner, strategist, director… you name it, she’s done it.

However, I was struck by her email because at the end of the message, as part of her agency’s generic electronic signature, was her name and title: Brand Contact Executive.

Brand Contact Executive! What the fuck’s a Brand Contact Executive? What does that mean? I thought you were a Senior Media Executive.

I email my concerns right back to her. Her answer? The holding company that recently bought the agency she works for likes to “think outside the box” and do things differently to stand apart from other ad shops. As a result, her advertising agency is now a “branding consultant.” And because the agency’s focus is now all about the brand, all personnel titles are associated with the brand.

So, a media executive, who places ads in the media, is a “Brand Contact Executive” because she “facilitates contact between the brand message (the ad) and the medium,” according to her new bosses.

What’s the difference between a media executive and a Brand Contact Executive? NOTHING! Not even more money. What’s next? A copywriter becomes a Brand Messaging Engineer? An art director becomes Brand Identity Developer? An account executive becomes a Brand Experience Director?

It sickens me to see how agencies are constantly trying to reinvent and repackage themselves, often to ridiculous lengths, to come off as different. The services they provide, the quality of work, the purpose, the business model… these things all remain the same. What’s the point of trying to come off as fancy when you actually sound ridiculous? What’s being accomplished? Just because an old car has a new coat of paint doesn’t mean it’s a better car. People, a tiger cannot change his stripes.

Like all things in advertising, we sell more sizzle than steak.

What crappy “forward-thinking” job titles are there in your agency?


Jeff said...

"Trade Channel Developer"

Huh? Take products we sell and upload them to comparison shopping sites like Shopzilla. Stupid name for a stupid job.

Jeff said...

I hate titles.
Always have.
I long for the day of the first agency I worked at where there were no titles. There was the owner and then everyone else.

There is also no standard for titles from place to place.

And then to start adding in new make believe titles on top of the stupid ones that already exist just gets dumber.

Why not just got with titles like:
Master of Time Space and Dimension

What client wouldn't want that person working on their business?

1Letterman said...

Hey, before I became a fancy creative director, I wouldn't accept a card with "copywriter" on it. Not even senior.

1. I don't copy SHIT.

2. I don't work at an insurance office, nor am I a lawyer. No copyrights, either.

3. COPY is a term referred to as a block of type in a print production process. I don't write that. I write words. COPY could be a block of industrial tensile strength capacities. Or, I could write a TV spot which contains only images and a logo and no COPY.

4. Is it picky? Of course it is. But, if anyone's gonna be picky about a word, shouldn't it be a friggin' WRITER? And shouldn't one of those words he's picky about be his JOB TITLE?

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