One of the best ways to figure out where ad agencies rank in the grand scheme of things is to see if they are credited for work that is talked about in venues beyond the usual suspects. Which brings me to yesterday's Consumed column in The New York Times Sunday Magazine by Rob Walker. It focuses on the "Shave Everywhere" campaign for the Philips Norelco Bodygroom. The centerpiece of the campaign is the site shaveeverywhere.com, partly because— since it lives on the Internet—it has allowed Philips Norelco to explore, um, issues that couldn't even be discussed on late night TV, a fact that Walker spends lots of copy on. But no mention of Tribal DDB, which created the campaign. Anywhere. If this habit of omitting the ad agency in the equation weren't so pervasive it would be shocking. Instead, it leaves me once again scratching my head at why these omissions happen all the time. Is it clients who don't want to acknowledge that they need outside help to come up with great ideas? Is it mainstream media who find that discussing the role of the agency is somehow tangential? Or is it that the industry—at least since the days of Mad Men has been pretty miserable at defending itself?
After all these years, I've really no clue.