US Adman Denounces Industry ‘Hypocrisy’

12 June 2003

The ad industry is hypocritical, overly preoccupied with research and has too many millionaires.

That, in a nutshell, is the damning critique delivered by Lee Garfinkel, chairman and chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide in New York, delivered before the serried ranks of America’s adfolk.

Addressing the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ New Business Summit [WAMN: 10-Jun-03], Garfinkel attacked several developments that he claims have taken the fun out of the industry.

First up: super-rich executives. “To have multimillionaires [in advertising] is bad for clients who already think they're paying too much” – a comment some onlookers took to be a swipe at Donny Deutsch, chairman/ceo of Deutsch.

Next came an attack on the hypocrisy that sees agencies preach integration when marketing disciplines are being siphoned off into different businesses, making it harder for teams to see the big picture. “Before, they were all employees, now they're all bosses,” the DDB man continued.

He then turned to the role of research and testing, which he argues are “freaking everyone out” and preventing agencies from relying on instinct.

Other complaints include the level of consolidation in the industry, which Garfinkel claims has left advertisers reeling. Clients were also on the receiving end, as the adman blasted those with a “multi-multi roster” of agencies for acting like “king of the world”.

Concluding with some advice for how things could be improved, Garfinkel advocated a minimum fee across the industry and the retention of copyright by agencies unless clients pay extra.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff