Geez. You'd think I dropped a nuclear device or at least farted in a room full of advertising big boys in Saigon. Inside of two days of being part of the Saigon/CreativeMornings launch and a post I did supporting a designer involved in the Cannes Young Lions competition in Vietnam I've got the managing directors of three big multi-national agencies raking my butt over the coals. And for what? Trying to move the ball along a little bit. My friend George says, "Funny how much attention you're getting." and I think that's a good thing because the attention I'm getting is from constructive criticism I've made and from people who don't like it, or didn't do anything about it, years ago when it came up.
Am I allowed to say "F*%$ em?" No. Actually not. Because the whole point is very much larger than that. Many times people complain because you do something that they wish they had done. One thing I do know, I sure didn't do anything wrong. Here's what I've done - or have not done. You decide.
#1) I did not start the Saigon/CreativeMornings group. Mad's Monsen was the first with the idea. And then I brought it to George and we all talked it around a number of people, and then it became real. Getting Tina Roth Eisenberg of the SwissMiss blog, the original creator of the format, to work with us was me. I did that.
Cannes didn't do it and Sun Flower Media didn't do it and an agency who should rightfully own the history of great advertising and another agency who both offered to sponsor after we had already launched and then complained at me didn't do it either. A well formed group of individuals did. Done.
And I have no problem with the Vietnam Young Lions competition, The Vietnam Advertising Festival, the Big Show or the Vietnam Advertising Association - except that they are so poorly organised on the Internet that my personal blog posts show up on Google Search Pages as high or higher than they in many cases. Google it. This causes them to loose a community concept and miss valuable input from the exact audience they seek to attract. So that audience, talks to me. I get a lot of attention because the generation now growing up in advertising lives on the Internet and I have a presence there. That's pretty simple. Once these shows and events learn that, they'll be yet another step forward. Shooting the messenger won't get them anywhere.
The entire point here is that we all need to "get along". from Sun Flower Media to the BigShow, to DDB, to WPP to Lowe and Golden, Purple, BBDO and all the other boys and girls in town. Pitching an account is competitive - but joining together for the greater good of the industry and its employees should not be.
The people who have complained to me this week all complained because somehow their self interest was not served. Look at McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Long John Silver's in the US. They all live on the same street corner because people like variety in their eating and it's a convenience to find them all in the same place - and so the industry as a whole does better because of competition. The industry here could learn a lot from that.
Happy holidays all!