Lapis Spirit Pendant by Elizabeth Knight for Of a Kind
BUY / 40 of a kind / $180


Lapis Spirit Pendant by Elizabeth Knight for Of a Kind

BUY / 40 of a kind / $180

PrivCap Interview: Marketing Impact on The Money World
The impressive folks at PrivCap invited Michael Duda over to talk about how brand and marketing plays a role in the investing world. Given that today is the first day EVER the general solicitation rules kinda sorta took effect, here’s the 10-minute video. 


(Credits: Glasses by Warby Parker; great shave by Harry’s, moisturizer courtesy Birchbox; incredible “wisdom” by lack of studying as youth.)
Publicis Omnicom Group

As the blogging world is desperate to have another random, passionate voice comment on Sunday’s marriage of the second and third-largest Agency holding companies, here are some thoughts:


With any change, human nature is to rebuff it. In particular, if I’m an executive at an Omnicom shop, I’m not loving this. 

I laugh when people believe that this was done to combat the “big new media companies” like Google. One can construct a nice, manufactured rationale on why this was, but I don’t believe it legitimately factored in. Not one bit.

This was about scale, ego and shareholder value, and of course, the executives are significant shareholders. As negative as that may come across, it’s not meant to be. Many mega-mergers are done for similar reasons. And if someone can counter-argue how a great Agency like Goodby or BBH just got better, I’d love to hear it. This was a money and executive play, period.

Rival holding company leaders immediately dismissed the move as positive. What else are they supposed to say? “Oh s**t, we’re screwed?” Of course not. It will be highly interesting to see if any of those naysayers are involved in a deal in the coming twelve months…and in a post Andy Berlin and Donny Deutsch-world, is  anyone more fun in the media than Martin Sorrell? 

At the end of the day, this will be great for the industry. Whenever there is a focus on bigness and scale, the counter trend also is unleashed. The importance of independence and/or not being uber huge will be more prolific in Agency marketing efforts. More new Agencies and entrepreneurs will emerge (believe me, if we can do it, YOU can as well) as the power and beauty of small becomes equally en vogue.

Some clients will seek big. Others efficiencies. And some others, the power of great thinking and the impact that only those in the Agency world can provide. To be negative towards this deal is pointless; clients can vote by moving their accounts and employees are free to go down the elevator and go elsewhere.

I think the Agency world just got a lot more fun for the next few years. Stay tuned.

Where’s the Cannes for Comp?

The worldwide celebration of creative and innovation excellence took place last week in Cannes, France. Agencies and Clients flocked to the Advertising’ annual equivalent to Davos for a week of inspiration and inebriation.

Creativity is something not only to be celebrated, but respected for the business impact it can make on brands. And to the credit of many clients, more are showing up on the beautiful French beach and be moved by the very same greatness that motivates the Agency World’s elite.
Increasingly, this respect is not as evident on the Client/Agency agreements. There seems to be far more evidence of clients sticking it to Agencies, making it tougher to do business. (http://adage.com/article/news/adland-s-vicious-billing-cycle-costing/242143/Heck, a recent Cannes Advertiser of the Year is now paying Agencies 67 percent later as a reward to its hard-working “partners” for all that work that helped them achieve such a status. Nice. Ick.
It’s time for the Agency world to pour the same passion for creative excellence into innovating and celebrating smart advances in fair-balance compensation practices. And I realize that sounds like a call-to-arms for having a meet-up at a local Costco cheese-sampling station, but in reality, it is sorely needed.
Look, it is a highly competitive world and clients do NOT have it easy. And this is not written with angst towards global Agency consolidations that seek “efficiencies” or many clients transitioning to project relationships from AOR stability. This is not even a plea just to get paid more. It’s from the erosion of fundamental good business practices where we now see:
…payment terms that in some cases reach 120 days out;
…wanting to own the work for no compensation;
…and incentive-based compensation structures that in reality are low-margin agreements that climb to industry norms with exceptional business result. These have to come under more scrutiny and be rebuffed.
Agencies need to invest some of their Cannes pride into championing better practices. I have seen numerous faux innovation programs from Agencies (“we invest in startups” or “we allocated 20% of our time to new things…just like Google!”) and believe there needs to be a fundamental commitment to properly address more creative compensation practices.
While there are well-meaning committees and white papers from industry organizations, we believe it is time for the Agency compensation issue to become a more passionate and better branded issue in the industry. And to make it cool(er), we have recruited two executives from the most creative Agencies in the world - both of whom have Cannes hardware  -  and a former marketing procurement professional from a Top 10 advertiser to an inaugural dinner this September in New York City to hit the reset button and perhaps reframe the Client/Agency compensation issue.
Consigliere Brand Capital will be hosting an oh-so-fun dinner event with three goals in mind:
  • Identify creative and productive innovations on the compensation issue for all parties to benefit from

  • Recruit more diverse financial management talent to the Agency side 

  • Shed more sunlight around this being a “socially” acceptable business  issue for Agencies to discuss with clients.
There is no reason why creativity and capitalism should be growing at odds within the Agency industryAgencies need to feel empowered to say the word “no” as a business practice and do so via constructing a confident, capitalistic argument that empowers Agencies to say it and for clients to appreciate it in working to better business practices. It is NOT us versus them. Clients don’t have it easy, which is why Agencies need to help evolve the conversation.

If you think you are one of them and wish to attend this dinner with the three forementioned Cannes winners, email me at hey@theconsig.com to lobby for an invite. And while this is just a dinner to kickstart something, perhaps this is something that triggers similar get-togethers at Ad Clubs across the country.
Fight For IP

I am proud of a lawsuit. More importantly, I hope Ad Agencies are inspired by it as well. 

Venture Capital star and First Round Capital founder Josh Kopelman sheds light on a lawsuit filed on behalf of one of its portfolio companies, Techforward.

Focused on helping consumers  upgrade their computers and electronics more affordably and easily, Techforward was literally robbed by Best Buy of its most precious asset: it’s intellectual property. And while the now-troubled retailer thought its corporate clout shielded it from “helping a start-up get rich” off them, Best Buy instead blatantly ripped Techforward off. And did so via a Super Bowl campaign.  

Best Buy reaped over $140 million in sales due to the program. They also reaped what they sowed: the little ol’ stat-up Techforward did the unusual. It fought back. It sued and thanks to the convictions of First Round Capital and NEA, it won. Big

Having spent the majority of my career on the Ad Agency side and having seen some clients try to get away with some industry worst practices, I hope this serves as an inspired salvo for any company - be it a start-up or 43-year old family-owned business, an Agency or a start-up tech firm - to value what it does. “No” is the most unused word in the Agency business, but one that needs to be used to prevent brands from taking ideas without appropriate compensation. 

While industry-wide issues about compensation and relationship issues are challenging, it is critical for Agencies to maintain pride and self-respect in what they do. The most valuable currency an Agency has is its ideas and IP (even though they are paid to execute rather than reap the impact of them.) Hopefully, many will look at Techforward/Best Buy to serve as inspiration to take action. Even if that means walking away or lawyering up. After all, if Agencies don’t, who will?

Michael Duda

Our Mantra

Our Mantra


The notion of the creativity has become identified with the idea of technology and the idea of technology has been identified with products.
William Deresiewicz, Writer and Critic speaking at CreativeMornings/Portland  (*watch the talk)


The notion of the creativity has become identified with the idea of technology and the idea of technology has been identified with products.

William Deresiewicz, Writer and Critic
speaking at CreativeMornings/Portland (*watch the talk)

This is us NOW!

This is us NOW!