Mark Wnek predicts suits as we know them, are dead.

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.

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Dabitch's picture

Not all suits are empty, just some of them. The surefire way to spot worthless men in suits in another on of Mark Wneks pieces for the Independant.

I hope I didn't give the impression last week that I am against all ad-agency account handlers, or suits. In fact, I know few people as charismatic as a Bill Muirhead or as switched on as a Michael Baulk. What I am against are the bad ones, of which there are far too many, braying with laughter as they examine their giant pay-packets of soft-earned cash.

Several clients have now asked me if I know how to winkle out these rotters. I have directed them without hesitation to my Addison Lee test.

This works like so: most projects involving your ad agency involve account handlers, be they to create a brief, to decide strategy or finalise creative work. Each project will need a certain number of meetings and a certain amount of stewardship, often from an eyebrow-raisingly high number of account handlers.

At the end of a given project, recap the input of each account handler involved and ask yourself: Could the input of any one of them have been every bit as well done by a motorcycle messenger with a clipboard?

If, in any instance, the answer is "yes", then dare I venture that the