11 December 2018

We’re a marketing agency. And we hate marketing agencies.

Hate. It’s a strong word. Reserved for special situations. Like when you tear your kitchen bin and bin juice dribbles all down your jeans. Or when you forget to take your phone to the toilet and you have to play pronounce the ingredients in your toothpaste seventeen times.


But, here at Turncoat, we use the word most when talking about marketing agencies.


Because, even though we are a marketing agency, we bloody hate ‘em.


How come? you might reasonably ask. Let us count the ways:



We hate how they define their crazy-ass selves through a love of caffeine. In fact, agencies are often so wacky they’re addicted to the stuff, clogging their Insta feeds with top-down shots of carefully curated #coffeeporn.


Pfft. Big deal. Who doesn’t love a strong cuppa joe? Who doesn’t need it directly injected into their veins just to get out of bed in the morning? Now, if they admitted an addiction to meth, that’d be interesting.


Very wrong, of course, but interesting.



We hate how damn creative they all are. Or, to be precise, how creative they say they are.


“We live, eat and breathe creativity!” they tell us.


Nonsense. In our experience, they live, eat and breathe biscuits.


And even if they are creative, so what? Hey, here’s an idea: stop advertising the bare minimum – you’re paid to be creative.


At Turncoat, we don’t have a swear jar, we have a creative jar: if we ever describe ourselves as creative, we donate a fiver to the Punch Us In The Face Foundation.*


(*NB – our lawyers have informed us that, due to the industry’s widespread adoption of the term, using ‘creative’ to describe job titles and marketing collectives is permissible. Phew.)



But what really grinds our gears about agencies is how they charge clients so. much. money. Honestly, we’ve seen hourly rates to make a Manhattan lawyer blush.


If you’ve ever had the privilege of watching someone open an agency bill, you’ll know what we mean. It usually goes something like this:


Client before opening an agency bill: Hey, team! Hope you’re all having a great day!


Client after opening an agency bill: If anyone talks to me for the next hour, I will put a blood-curse on their unborn children.


So why do marketing agencies charge such high rates? Well, some do it because they’re damn good at what they do – and more power to them. You have to know your value in this game.


But as for others, well, one word springs to mind:




Or, four words: really ****ing big overheads.


Underpinned as they are by sky-high rental fees, bucketloads of account management time (which, ironically, is usually very hard to account for) and absorbing the cost of a host of full-time staff (whether or not they’re working on your project), agency overheads can be astronomical. Which means their hourly rates go the same way.


At Turncoat, we’re committed to turning the existing agency model on its head, charging lower prices by keeping lower overheads.


That’s why we work out of shared co-working spaces, which offer us the flexibility to work up and down the country without incurring cardiac-inducing rental fees.


And that’s why our creatives are often our account managers. After all, why introduce a middleman when it’s better to talk to the person doing the work.


And that’s also why we use a nimble, on-demand marketing collective. Bristling with copywriters, designers, VR developers and strategists, we cherry-pick the right creatives for the right job, so our clients only pay for the people working on their account. Not those working on others.


By utilising modern working environments, removing layers of account management and using a streamlined creative collective, we deliver agency-quality work without the agency price tag.


So, soon enough, it might be less of a case of us hating other marketing agencies, and more a case of them hating us…