Many years ago, I worked for an agency no one today has ever heard of. (This is the advertising equivalent of film majors never having seen Citizen Kane or Birth of a Nation.)
For a few brief, shining years you could make the argument that this was the best agency in the world--the agency that essentially created brands like FedEx, MCI, Dunkin' Donuts, SAAB, Volvo and others. And while I wasn't at this agency during its glory years, I did learn a lot there.
One thing I've carried with me since they closed their Gwathmey-Siegel-designed doors was the agency's mission statement. It was pretty simple and pretty profound: "To impart useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way." Chew on that for a while and you'll begin to grasp its depth.
Homage done, let's cut to outrage. Today we slice and dice advertising agencies. We compartmentalize them by adding words like "direct" or "interactive" to their names. Such words are semantic hogwash. All advertising should be direct in that the consumer should know what to do when they see the ad. All advertising should be interactive in that the ad engages and
involves you--even if you're only interacting with your brain or heart.
I guess my point is this: good advertising is good advertising. It imparts useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way. All these words we add to people or agencies ("he's a direct guy") are about discrimination and segregation--the opposite of marketing integration.