January 28th, 2005 by Bob Bly
In a recent segment of the reality TV series The Simple Life, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were interning at a New York creative ad agency.
The boss gave Nicole a terribly important assignment: reserving a table for lunch at a trendy NYC restaurant that is usually booked up a week in advance.
When Nicole completed the task successfully, the agency owner told her, ?I think you have what it takes to make it in this business!?
Unfortunately, I don?t think he was joking.
The three-martini lunch on Madison Avenue is a clich?, but amazingly, certain businesses ? advertising and publishing among them ? still seem to embrace it.
Here?s what this says to me about the agency employing Paris and Nicole:
1. They are so untalented that their method of making a client happy is to take him to lunch.
2. They place little value on their time (these fancy restaurant lunches can easily take 2 hours or more).
3. They don?t offer real value (in terms of increasing client ROI), and they hope by entertaining the client well no one will notice.
Maybe I?m just reading too much into this. But in my 25 years in marketing ? 23 years as a freelance copywriter and 2 years on the client side ? I saw too many agencies who viewed taking the client to a fancy lunch as their major achievement.
How sad — and pathetic.
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