Oliver McAteer
Sep 24, 2019

'Talk to your normal friends more': Gary Vaynerchuk on staying away from Madison Ave to dominate adland

'I've got thick enough skin for the little jokes that everybody has at these agencies. I'll just see them at 2030 and count score then.'

'Talk to your normal friends more': Gary Vaynerchuk on staying away from Madison Ave to dominate adland

"Everybody needs to talk to their normal friends more" because most of those within advertising are failing dismally to keep up with the industry’s dramatic transformation, says Gary Vaynerchuk.

The CEO of VaynerMedia, entrepreneur and social media feed dominator, stressed that the world’s best creative shops are the ones which can produce thousands of pieces of content every month across 15 platforms for its clients during a talk at Advertising Week in New York City on Monday. 

"This is not spray and pray and hope we get lucky with a viral tweet -- this is truly understanding the 10 to 15 subsets that drive the business," he said. "The days of trying to find one brand positioning to then push down to TVC with matching digital luggage and banner ad in programmatic form are just extremely numb to 2018 consumer behavior."

VaynerMedia, which was formed in 2009, has made tremendous strides in recent months in making noise for itself and some of the globe's biggest brands including Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo and Budweiser (taking home recognition at Cannes Lions for the latter this year). 

Vaynerchuk said he was "flabbergasted" at how the world wasn’t where it should have been with regards to internet marketing when he first ventured into adland. It’s a feeling he still has about today’s landscape.

He continued: "The cat is so uncomfortably out of the bag with what’s happening in society, in terms of politically, socially, transactionally business-wise. The vast majority of money spent by brands this week are spent in a very non-practical way, in a very ideological way and has created the vulnerabilities we’re seeing in the ecosystem. 

"I believe that the next decade will be difficult for the biggest brands in the world because they continue to waste money on metrics that have nothing to do with their actual business."

He stressed that he’s "not naive in knowing that the word ‘volume’ in the creative field is sacrilege -- that quantity immediately makes many people think that doesn’t mean quality."  

Vaynerchuk said our new world needs every engine to produce a level of creative that has never been required in the past. But what this has translated to is agencies and brands "selling vanilla at scale and nobody cares." 

His company’s advantage is two-fold, he said: A fully-integrated, creative, strategic and production "Death Star" run by someone who spends the majority of his time outside of the Madison Avenue ecosystem.

"When is this industry going to get tired of producing an enormous amount of expensive content that nobody actually sees?" Vaynerchuk continued. "What commercials are penetrating our culture? The stuff that people talk about is happening on the internet and other forms. I promise you; way more people know what the Instagram egg is than any television commercial that came out besides what we see at the Super Bowl. We need to think about that. 

"We need to go reverse. We need to be religious with the great skill of writing the copy for a tweet that captures the attention of consumers which we can then bridge into a two-minute video which can be the Super Bowl spot for that brand. We need to put contemporary things on a pedestal. TV commercials were completely shit on by the advertising world."

Adland’s polarizing figure highlighted that 90 percent of Fortune 500 CPG brands are declining in market share. These companies are losing out to direct-to-consumer start-ups launching with Shopify, selling Instagram ads and pushing creative on other social media platforms at scale. 

"And we spend 16 weeks to develop a brand positioning and to come up with a tagline that means nothing to nobody -- because it’s so fucking vanilla -- just so we can fit all the creative in it," he said. "It doesn’t make sense. It has to stop. We’re living through a massive communications transformation and our industry needs to adjust to that reality and help our brands grow their business."

Vaynerchuk said he has zero interest in his media firm becoming the next holding company. Instead, he wants to inspire a next-generation of creative shops to stay independent and operate at scale. He called out 72andSunny, Droga, Crispin for selling, adding: "They didn’t stay independent, and that’s the end."

The ad maverick concluded: "With the internet, everything is going to become commoditized except communication. This is the best industry to be in, the problem is that everyone’s got their head up their ass to yesterday they don’t realize the game they’re actually playing.

"I’m out here beating the drum, getting heavily scrutinized from within but not from without. I’ve got thick enough skin for the little jokes that everybody has at these agencies. I’ll just see them at 2030 and count score then."

Campaign US

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