Ad legend Lee Clow aka the bearded man recently exposed his thought on agencies compensation. Mr Clow is known as the art director guru of the industry, while he currently holds the position of Chairman and the Global Director for TBWA Worldwide. He is most known for his work on branding the technology giant Apple, yes that’s right he’s the main man and all creatives’ should be bowing down to him, after all he did help create the brand they love. He is basically the silent father of the Apple brand that we know of today. As it was his ad campaign, 1984 which launched Apple Mac’s success, click here to see the masterpiece. He is also done work such as the Energizer Bunny and Taco Bell’s Chihuahua. You could basically say that he is responsible for assisting with pushing the ad industry’s’ benchmark for creativity as we know of it is today, so yeah he’s kinda’ a big deal. Then it gets even better, because he sports a killer beard making him officially the Big Daddy, Fact.

Recently the bearded man spoke out to the public sharing words of wisdom which is directed to the industry and the client. On a topic which most shy away from and let’ be honest he has some big ones for finally someone speaks the truth.


I couldn’t agree more with the Big Daddy’O, for too long have agencies cut their fee’s to please and keep clients work. We sell creative ideas, it’s a little piece of ourselves just like that of musicians and actors yet they reap the rewards far greater than the creative ad man, if you forget about all the grey matter it’s true. Yet clients have a tendency to wave a little wand or stick in front of our noses to ensure that we know our place. Understandably there will always be a smaller dog that is willing to pick up the scraps and let them be, as everyone needs to make a living. The issue is when the bigger agencies under price themselves to win new work hoping to one day slowly push the price up according to the relationship they have built. Have you ever heard of giving someone a hand and they take the whole arm, think about it big corporations didn’t get where they are today by being generous (fair there is actually a few out there) but most of them have become successful for being like Jews and counting the pennies.

In today’s environment it’s sad to say that the creative mind is rapidly becoming extinct, not because of lack of talent but rather because of the ever growing pressures given from client. As Mr Clow mentions “we get paid like we are doing our client’s laundry” and that the harsh truth, the advertising, branding, the slogans etc. that the agency creates does determine the success or failure for the client and they know it but those in the industry do little about it. As Clow says “the ideas’, could be listed on the balance sheet of our clients as an asset worth millions and millions of value, but of course we get no return on that contribution. Instead we get a fee.” A minute price for the clients value earned, imagine if agencies could charge a percentage of brand worth from the start of the campaign until a set number of years. The Media, Models and photographers do so why doesn’t the agency?

There are many factors involved for this and there is no point going right into detail, that’s a story for another day and because if you look at it holistically you could say that everyone is to be blamed, even myself.  These topics are thankfully currently being discussed by the 4A’s by the industry leaders and for the time being the only viable solution is if all agencies stick together without playing cat and mouse, getting back to basics and doing the job that we love.

You my friend will be the first to know once I find out more.

To be continued.