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Thursday, September 20, 2007


The Caribbean is a challenge for many types of business but for a creative shop on a small island, well you aint seen nothing yet. One of things that people try to understand is what differentiates x from y. Its after all understandable. However I am always amused by the fact that I will buy a Used Jap car from an import / export merchant and knowingly give them 30-40% margin at least for just being able to pick up the phone and the same person will find it incredibly difficult to pay a couple thousand US for creative branding to differentiate their offering in the market. They simply find it too much to pay because well, they can sell their used cars without doing it. Tough argument to beat.

The reason ad agencies worldwide are often hated is because they are big money relationships at the highest level, where commission on those relationships mean more than the ideas and work that grows business. The fact that you have a little known agency called Zimmerman, in Florida, with 2 billion dollars in billings alone (and they really are low profile), gives you an idea of whats possible.

However here, the level of respect for ideas (musicians and artists will tell you the same thing) is at an alltime low. We really do work for our coin here because in the end, everyone can say 'f it' and do it themselves. And guess what, ask the question "so who thinks they can do the marketing job' in any company and all hands go up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Design at any cost

In the ad agency business you have to be very aware of competition. But sometimes it gets ridiculous.

The thing is that you have to make a concious decision not to be competing with people whose modus operandi is to use the suspicion of Caribbean people towards the value of creative work, to their favour.

Its an interesting phenomenon. Unfortunately what it means is that many businesses end up making no money because they price themselves out of the business. Its already come to pass in video production, and graphic design seems to be heading that way. The worst part is that standards of course are extremely low. Its a challenge you really dont want to take on. Of course ad agency work is really scarcely dependent on graphic design. Its a very small part of what we do. But its the low hanging fruit in the business. Everyone feels they can draw a pretty picture, and make a living doing it. More power to them.