Teamwork? More like reamwork.

Anyone who admires Jeff Goodby is pretty much OK by me. So I’m not here to talk smack about Joel Ewanick and I’m not rooting for Commonwealth, his cobbled-together Franken-agency for Chevrolet’s global account, to fail.

Why? Because, while the comparison is inviting, it’s not Enfatico, the much reviled “agency of the future” assembled for Dell that, like that client’s product, was ugly, unloved and under-powered. George Parker beat that shop like a mule, and rightly so.

Also: because I don’t want anything bad to happen to Goodby.

The thing that fascinates me about Commonwealth and other attempts of this sort is the extent to which clients do not understand the feral, foam-at-the-mouth loathing that agencies forced into the yoke of “teamwork” have for one another.

I used to think it was arrogance. Years ago, when I was a creative director on AT&T’s consumer business at Ayer and McCann had the B2B and FCB had direct marketing, we would periodically all be summoned to client HQ to be briefed on jump-ball projects. It was like the holding area in a cock-fighting arena.

The clients droned on with their presentations, oblivious to the stink-eye flying around the room. Did they not see? Did they not care? My assumption back then was the client believed buckets of revenue trumped petty rivalry, so get with the program.

I don’t think Joel Ewanick is that stupid, or arrogant. I think clients, who succeed in large companies by their ability to work in teams and build consensus, just do not understand, at a visceral level, that agency luminaries succeed by building personal mystiques, owning famous work, and/or wearing signature outfits. Not, like Jeff Goodby and Joe Garcia, by doing public trust-falls into the arms of their frenemies.

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