Advertising kills!

Nikki Gatenby

March 15, 2017

Thomas Kolster’s article resonated with me. In an industry where creativity is the golden goose and winning a Cannes Lion is a much lauded achievement, it seems the working practice of treating people like battery hens, aiming for high productivity over long hours in confined spaces, still prevails.

The results of squeezing more and more out of tired people isn’t going to light anyone’s fire. Instead, creating freedom and an environment for coming up with the very best idea, might just light up the world.

“Work is not worth dying for” and “A hellish work culture breeds shitty work”

We need to balance the pursuit of awards for our work with the pursuit of awards for how we work.

“We all know the bad seeds, but are we ready to face ourselves?” Kolster asked. Indeed. Are we ready to face ourselves is a great question.

It triggered me to look at those places where we do face ourselves and question how we are working, where the opposite of killing yourself in the face of work is celebrated; where great work is achieved in an environment of freedom and engagement. In the realms of those companies listed in the Times Top 100 and The Guardians Great Places to Work UK Top 50.

The absence of creative, media, marketing companies was all too clear to see. In reviewing each of the publications shortlist of last years’ winning companies, those indexed under the banner of creative or media agencies, can be counted on one hand.

C’mon, we can do better.

Kolsters call to ‘create a generation of free-range creatives’ is exactly where we should be focusing – although I would replace creatives with ‘agencies’.

We should set a vision around freedom. And building on the words of Ogilvy himself, lead with the principle responsibility to create an atmosphere in which dedicated, creative, innovative mavericks can do impactful work.


It’s not a happy accident that Propellernet has been listed in the Great Places to Work top 10 best companies in the UK for the last 4 years running. We picked up a special recognition award for Wellbeing too. It’s a deliberate strategy to ensure we create the right environment for high impact work for our clients. And it’s working.

Advertising that kills, must live in the past. Killer creative, driven by getting the culture right, is where the future lies.

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