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Dec 1, 2017    Good Company

Task Monkeys Unavailable


I don’t have any interest in working on an assembly line. I don’t want to put on a dumb green t-shirt and wander around the Whole Foods in downtown Austin, tossing kale and granola into a shopping cart for a stranger that ordered me on an app. I don’t want my phone to buzz, and I don’t want to be on-call unless I’m getting paid a doctor’s salary. I don’t want to be told by some app to put your IKEA dresser together in an hour.

So why would I want to do the equivalent of that with my advertising agency?

Rock Candy Media is a full-service innovative advertising agency, branding, and a digital marketing firm that is focused on both getting your baby attention and getting our clients’ quality conversions. We’re a team of creatives who take pride in being called the creative salesforce.

We’re not task monkeys.

Rock Candy Media is an online advertising agency that creates things you don’t have the time to execute. We get clever. We get authority. We get authentic. We push our clients to own it. I tell each client that if a campaign doesn’t make you nervous, it’s not going to work. We don’t have a formula. I always say — because it’s true — that we are THE ANTI-TEMPLATE. We don’t do the same thing over and over again because even if that thing works now, if you do it enough — if you do it too much — it won’t work anymore.

Don’t believe me? Just look at what happened to the supposedly hot 💩 advertiser Buzzfeed. That content sweatshop had to lay off 8% of its staff because they missed bad on ad revenue.

From The Wall Street Journal:

BuzzFeed plans to reduce its U.S. staff by 8%, with all the cuts coming from the business and sales side of the organization, the company said Wednesday.

The job cuts and organizational changes are part of an effort to diversify the company’s sources of revenue, at a time when fierce competition for online advertising dollars is making it tough for digital media companies to maintain the significant growth rates expected by investors.

“As our strategy evolves, we need to evolve our organization, too—particularly our business team, which was built to support direct-sold advertising but will need to bring in different, more diverse expertise,” Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s co-founder and chief executive, said in a memo to staff.

Why did Buzzfeed lose so much advertising revenue? Because they only used to be innovative advertisers. They didn’t adapt to the following:

  1. That everyone — seriously, EVERYONE — started to steal their formerly innovative branded content formats. But, of course that was going to happen. That always happens. So what’d they do? Nothing. Just the same old stuff. Except it wasn’t new or innovative anymore.
  2. They either couldn’t, wouldn’t, or just didn’t think to do more targeted work. Probably because…
  3. They stopped caring how much their ads were converting for their clients after they got paid. They got lazy.

Buzzfeed did the same things over and over and over again. They became task monkeys, simply checking boxes, half-heartedly churning out branded content, and taking money without really caring whether or not what they were doing worked for the clients who hired them. And their clients eventually figured that out.

That’s why I’ll never let my advertising agency, or the amazing creatives who work here, become task monkeys. The second a client feels like you are work is the second I would feel shame. I’ve been there. The people that just want pretty. The people that put 80 things on a whiteboard (Cheesecake Factory Style) and execute none. If you have to tell your agency to change this blue to green because our logo is green, you become a commodity not worth spending on. You stop creating compelling content and campaigns because you are not listening to the client.

All of my clients are my bosses. I work for them. And I’m not going to fail them ever, least of all in the most avoidable, laziest way possible: by becoming a task monkey.

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