Mark Wnek - from Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper fame in London - tells the story of a dying breed in the Independant: The days of schmoozing are over. So, farewell, to the men in suits are on the run.
Adland is up in arms. That is to say, not the whole of adland, but the suits who run it. They're cross that their clients are bringing in procurement specialists to squeeze fees.
I've been aware of something brewing for a while, if only anecdotally, via conversations with my besuited friends. Sooner or later in the conversation comes the glance down, the rueful head-shake, the fiddling with the triple-layered silk of the Lanvin tie, the fingers through the Trevor Sorbie-ed hair, and the plaintive: "You know, it isn't like the old days. Bloody clients are squeezing the life out of us. My margins are lower than a snake's belly in a wheel rut."
Now, suddenly - unprecedentedly - the suits have "gone official" with moves at the Institute for Practitioners of Advertising (IPA), adland's debating chamber, aimed at agreeing a "rate card" - a single rate of fees for all UK ad agencies - as a bulwark against the procurement specialists' inroads.
Ladbrokes would offer shorter odds on hyenas going vegan than ad-agency suits uniting over anything other than the desirability of dancing on each others' graves, so this procurement thing must have struck a very raw nerve. Why so? Well, I think any suit with half a brain (that covers most of them) can see the fat end of the iceberg coming.