Anak Ahensi Should Learn to Make Their Own Coffee


The predictions and forecasts about how the advertising industry was changing ended up turning into reality but the busiest employees at agencies remain the same group of people all these years, the office boys. It’s been said that the transformation of agencies has come to full circle. As the first agencies in the world started off serving placements, J. Walter Thompson added the service of writing up the content.

The modern full-service agency eventually became the standard by the mid 20th century, but then they separated into specialized agencies, mostly dealing with media placements and creative work. Digital was among the latest additions to this array of specialties. Recently, both media and creative shops have added digital to their menu – in an almost end-to-end offering from strategy to implementation.

“But content is king”, we comfort ourselves. But we are not the only ones who can make content. We are not even championing content. Your toddler with a camera can also make content. There are companies such as GetCraft and Ceritera that specialize in creating content for specific platforms.

Given that social media platforms are now monetizing through selling ads and media agencies are challenged to justify their man-hour with the advent of programmatic buying, the real value we bring through strategy and creativity will be increasingly demanded with proof.

While the industry is trying to seek for the right balance in its approach to digital, the audience is already weaning off social media, shifting slowly to another platform.

According to TNS Connected Life in 2014, the average Indonesian digital audience spends 2.9 hours using mobile devices per day. This is far longer than the time spent by the people of Malaysia, Singapore, or Hong Kong. However, Indonesian usage of social media has declined below other Southeast Asian countries and even Latin America according to Global Web Index. Messaging and private sharing platform is taking over as the primary mobile activity.

So yeah, everyone wants a piece of each other but maybe there is more icing than the cake.

Agencies that can work lean with fewer supporting resources and focus on billable man-hours will of course have a competitive edge over a larger ship with bigger overhead, but the reason behind the title of this piece is beyond this grim and immediate fact.

Anak ahensi should learn to make their own coffee!

Among the most harmful things for an agency staffer today is the false sense of security and overestimating the importance of the outcome of their work. Agency people are not that busy, we just make ads. It’s so humbling and it puts us back into perspective when we’re reminded that the business, marketing, and communications, have so much more to deal with than just ads. And only people with this knowledge can make themselves more relevant, and even possibly transform the whole process.

I think it’s sickening to think that we are a different kind of people just because the office boy or office assistants are less privileged than advertising staff, as they may have to go to a different floor to go to the toilet, not having office-provided gadgets, having to pay for their own data plans, and don’t enjoy the breeze from the air conditioner unless they’re delivering coffee to our desks.

I think advertising people should refuse to be disconnected from their surroundings. I think we should be the ones who value respect and sensibility the most, not because it’s noble, but because sensibility is our means of survival.

I think we should be suspicious on whether having abundant office boys at our disposal, glamorous outing destinations, and shiny office furniture, make us too comfortable. Comfort and relaxation don’t produce the best of our brains. In fact, busy people tend to get more things done! So yeah, making your own coffee could be a better way to procrastinate than browsing YouTube.

I think letting someone else to make your coffee is a missed opportunity to hone your skills in tamping a portafilter or setting the right temp for a pour over, or you know, those hipster’s muse. It’s important to keep reminding ourselves of that rewarding feeling of learning new things.

That’s why I think we should learn to make our own coffee. Maybe it will turn us into better ad people. And maybe, just maybe, it will yield better cups of coffee.

Editor’s tip: here are 38 ways to make coffee.

Imam Wiratmadja works on communication strategy for the increasingly digital environment. Owns a cheap moka pot. His opinion doesn’t represent his employer.

[header image: AdDiction]