How can an advertising agency be considered “strategically strong” if its creative output sucks?

I was reading in the trades today about an agency whose creative product is considered weak but its strategic thinking is by, way of contrast, considered “strong”.

That’s a bit like saying that a really ugly fashion model has a great gait.

It doesn’t really matter because all we ever see is her face. That’s what she’s judged on. That’s really all that matters. It’s why ugly models don’t really make it.

It’s a cruel and superficial world. Or it should be!

So it both bothered and perplexed me to see this in print and not questioned.

Like having a sound strategy in a boring idea is a strategically good move.

That somehow, if your strategic thinking is great, viewers will look past your stiff and awkward execution and get high on your agency’s strategic thinking.

I am a huge fan of strategic thinking. I love doing it. It’s my favorite part of my job.

And i can tell you right now I see very little of it of in advertising. It’s always in short supply. What passes for insight in advertising is called the bleeding obvious in real life. And what passes for genius in advertising is considered mere common sense in real life.

But it’s a lot easier and much less effort to sell something that sounds vaguely amusing than something that is an expression of a genuine insight.

You’ll notice that the same agencies that get the execution part (the really tricky part) right that also get the strategic part (the tricky part) right.

The two are indivisible.

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