Too Much Integration (Father knows best)

January 25, 2008

My father recently announced a new chain of creative command at his agency, RPA (Rubin, Postaer & Associates). Though not retiring outright, he is handing over the creative reigns to his deserving lieutenants. I’m sure there’ll be a roast and a party eventually…

My father was an excellent creative director. Best one I ever met. Certainly better than me. He didn’t chase after gold lions or new business. Rather he preferred to do great work for great clients, year after year, and did so for half a century. Every year his agency created Honda advertising every bit as good as Honda cars. The relationship with that client started before email, before Apple computers, before I began college. Hell, it helped pay for my college. RPA and Honda are still inextricable.

Dad’s innate high standards mattered more than those held by trendy awards show judges. And since he refused the atomic payday of many a holding company, he was beholden to none. Honda appreciates this loyalty and commitment. And so do I. My brothers and I fondly call him the Cal Ripken of Advertising. High praise.

He was his own man. And still is. He took his name off the door for reasons known only to him. When I asked my father why he was standing down from one of the best jobs at one of the best agencies in the world, he gave me several good reasons. But I’ll share only one. He told me, frankly, that integration left him “cold, ignorant and underwhelmed.”

Ah, that’s it then: Pops couldn’t keep up with the times. The brave new world of banners and microsites was too much for him. Time to let the Facebook generation take over. Social networks are where it’s at. Give them something viral. Integrate or die!

Or recognize, as my father did, that integration is just a word we marketers use to sound smart; that in fact, the wizard beyond the curtain of Integration is basically a dumbfuck. An avatar of a know-it-all. A Google-eyed Yahoo.

Remember folks most things viral can kill you.

Integration. Innovation. TM “I”.

For my father the only real “I” word that mattered was Idea. In the end, maybe he just got bored with other ones.

2 Responses to “Too Much Integration (Father knows best)”

  1. I do marvel at the level of distinction some people insist on making between online and traditional advertising. True, there are big differences in the direction of communication, the level of consumer involvement, in the tonality possible online versus in broadcast, and of course in laser targeting. Still, when I see online ads, in terms of execution much of it seems like traditional advertising on my computer — maybe more use of self-satisfied stock user imagery.

  2. jules2789 said

    Can’t speak to why or why not your dad stepped down. But I can speak to the quotations around “integration.”

    Integration isn’t just a buzzword to make marketers sound smart. At the end of the day, it’s still about ideas. It’s about ideas reaching the people they need to reach. If a consumer is on a computer, we’ve got to be there too. And we’ve got to be consistent and compelling regardless of which media form we’re using.

    The ideabehind the curtain of “Integration” – sorry to argue – isn’t a dumbfuck. It’s the theory that an idea isn’t limited to 30 seconds.

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