on client-advertising agency relationships

Clients demand that their customers be loyal to their brands. They also demand that their agencies be “partners” to their business and loyal to their brands.

However, are they loyal to their agencies?

The client-agency relationship is (and has always been?) problematic: The distribution of power is always skewed towards the client. Agencies are expected to kowtow to the whims of the client because they hold the money.

Until this relationship dynamic is rectified, there can be no sustainable business model for agencies and there can be no real “partnership” — an ideal sought after by clients — between the two parties.

It will always be transactional.

Not too dissimilar from the relationship between a paying customer and a prostitute.


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