Gone but not forgotten (by me anyway)

Easy come. Easy go. Advertising agencies are nothing more than collections of personalities, talents and experience that can be made relevant to their clients. So what's really important is the management acumen to make all these intangibles work for clients. During my career I've worked for numerous advertising agencies both as an employee and as a freelance writer. Sadly, many of the firms that once employed me are now beneath proverbial tombstones. Some were victims of bad management. Others found ways to alienate most of their clients and potential clients.

Simpson Marketing Communications Agency was a little firm in Columbus, Ohio that was too focused on printing to really deliver a well rounded communications offering to clients. I also worked for Cleveland's Meldrum & Fewsmith which later merged with another previous employer, Hesselbart & Mitten/Arocom of Fairlawn, Ohio. Several years later both were bought by the Wolf Group which employed me in the early 90s. That entire organization was either folded up or sold off in piecemeal fashion. It was as if the distress of employing me left all these sick and dying "Wolves" looking for merger partners. Just kidding.

Another agency employer, ICE Communications, finally folded seven or eight years after I left. Frankly, I was surprised they lasted that long given the way they burned through personnel and clients. All this mortality leaves standing just a couple of the employers on my résumé.

But all of these fatefully departed firms enjoyed their times in the sun. They were once productive employers and they delivered results for their clients. Good results, usually. All employed some incredible and bright people who helped shape my career and sharpen my abilities. I have fond memories from each.

The point of this is to illustrate the ephemeral nature of advertising and the advertising agency business. Clients change. Client personnel moves on. Campaigns are replaced annually. People come and go. So, if you are having a positive agency experience, either as an employee or client, be sure to enjoy it while it lasts. The good work doesn't perform indefinitely. And good agencies don't stay around forever--or stay good for very long.

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