Has anyone really been impressed with the Digiday Confessions series?
Honestly, are the alleged insider exposés actually uncovering new insights or shocking revelations? If the stories were shared in a confessional, most priests probably wouldn’t feel compelled to issue penance. The typical response might be, “Is that all you got?”
For starters, “Big-Agency Top Digital Exec” is almost an oxymoron. As the confessor admitted, big agencies do not know what to do with high-level digital talent. The interviewee literally declared, “…I don’t think there is…one single example of an innovation person or department doing well at a big agency.” The narration went on to criticize clients, BDA management and even the digital executives for taking jobs for the money, ultimately jumping from shop to shop. For bona fide big-agency adpeople, it’s all been common knowledge for at least a decade.
The “Big-Agency Top Digital Exec” didn’t spend too much time discussing the majority of “chief innovation officers” who are simply old-fashioned con artists. You know the type. Fast-talking hucksters who pontificate about breakthrough technological concepts yet never manage to execute anything of merit. Of course, their résumés take credit for lots of award-winning projects. But when you probe for specifics on their roles in the interactive extravaganzas, the conversation is quickly shifted to the latest Nike app that they had nothing to do with. And as the confessor acknowledged, these self-promoters are highly successful at replaying their hustle for any agency desperately seeking digital credibility.
On many levels, big-agency top digital execs are not much different than big-agency top execs. They just tend to own and operate more gadgets.