What’s the value of a big idea?

How Chernoff Newman defines the ideal client-agency relationship.

February 25, 2022
President of Client Engagement and Marketing

He said, she said. It was a big week on Twitter for the ad industry.

If you haven’t noticed, Twitter is on fire over the Coinbase Super Bowl ad again. Only this time, it’s not about the ad itself, but who came up with the idea for it.

Here’s the short story: Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong decided to tell the world how this ad came to be and he said he turned down gimmicky concepts from advertising agencies and instead had his internal team come up with their own ideas. And this is how the bouncing QR code was born. But then Kristen Cavallo from the Martin Agency tweeted back that not only did her team include a bouncing QR code in their presentations, but she also cited the dates of the two meetings.

And the ad people went crazy.

Some said thank you for standing up for ideas.

Some said thank you for standing up to give credit where credit was due.

But Cavallo then said it wasn’t about intellectual property or credit – it was about standing up for an agency’s value.

After watching this play out over the course of a few days, I think it really is about all of these things.

First of all, an agency’s differentiation is defined by two things: the people who work at the agency and the ideas that are generated. One big group of people coming up with lots of different ideas. That’s Intellectual Property (IP). And IP is our jam. It’s what gets us excited about this business. It’s what drives us to beat our last idea. IP is advertising. We are in the idea business.

Giving credit is something agencies have always been divided on. Outside of trade publications and awards shows (and the occasional reality series), most agencies typically stay in the shadows. At Chernoff Newman, we give the brands we are working on the glory. Some may call that old school, but we do it because this is not a “me” business… this is a “we” business.

And by that, I mean that at Chernoff Newman, we’re all about the relationships we build with our clients. Relationships are built on trust. And when you have trust, you have shared tangible value in the work being done together.

Pulling back the curtain.

I applaud Cavallo for sticking up for her agency’s ideas, for their team, for their work and for the advertising business in general. She obviously has clients who trust and value the Martin Agency (hello, Geico). This client match-up may have been a miss in terms of building a solid relationship and getting credit for the idea that they came up with, but it did bring to light why ad agencies exist and the general public got a quick peek behind the curtain of idea-land and the process of getting a Super Bowl spot on the air.

If you’re a brand manager and you feel like you’re missing out on a true agency relationship, then we’d like to get to know you. Shoot me a message and let’s talk. Let’s just do it offline, not on Twitter.

Chernoff Newman has deep category experience in agriculture, food and beverage, education and workforce development, energy, economic development, financial/insurance, healthcare and infrastructure. We design integrated marketing and strategic communications that are impactful, thought-provoking and influential. We marry ingenuity with business know-how to influence beliefs and behaviors for brands, companies and their many stakeholders. We influence attitude and inclination. We influence opinion and outcomes. And when needed, we also influence to quell contention.