The current and future state of the ad agency business is the subject of a new documentary film from Togetherr, Kill your Darlings. The film is narrated by Anouk Jans, a Creative Director from Germany who is looking for answers, positive change, and a brighter future for herself and everyone that loves the business of creativity. Her quest leads her to seek meetings with industry luminaries like Anselmo Ramos, Greg Hahn, Mo Said, Rob Reilly, Fernando Machado, Germany Lancaster, Karin Onsager-Birch, plus Cindy Gallop, and other notables.
The film takes an interesting turn midway through. Jans meets with David Sable, the former Global CEO of Y&R, and he provides the necessary humor and perspective that had been missing up to that point.
Sable said, “Since the day I started, I’ve heard nothing but: ‘Oh my God, the agency world is changing.'”
Addressing the idea of widespread industry dysfunction, “It could be any company. Go tell the client that their model isn’t working,” Sable said.
I also enjoyed Jans’ exchange with Mo Said, founder of Mojo Supermarket.
“Almost every month we have a four-day weekend we don’t work holidays there’s a lot of project management and account management that goes into making sure that happens because at other agencies no one’s making sure that happens,” Said said. “There’s a little line where like you can be treated like a slave or you can be treated like an artist.”
The film moves from hard topics like industry burnout and stale business models to a higher place, where creative people on healthy teams can make big things happen for good people. I have my own struggles with the agency business, but I still believe in this core tenet. I still believe in creativity’s power to propel companies and to move, and sometimes even heal, people.