WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
I don’t know about you, but we have never tracked with the rest of the economy. Like, all the way through the 90s, as the Internet bubble was blowing up, we strolled along at a little better than break even. We used to look around at the ridiculous spending, and read the press about the unprecedented wealth development, and wonder where all this new wealth was, because it certainly wasn’t falling into our pockets.
In the late 90s and early ots, we had friends who were making wheelbarrows full of money doing branding for high-end real estate developments up in the mountains (one friend called it the art of selling swamp land to Yankees). We always kinda wanted to get into that game. But somehow it never worked out. Some of those same friends were making big bucks flipping some of that same real estate. We, on the other hand, were buying and renovating a cute little 1910 bungalow on a tree-lined street and settling down (the last good deal on Prentiss Avenue).
A few years ago, we purchased the commercial condo our company now occupies. I guess it’s typical of us. We are a block off of Main Street (rather than on Main Street, where the prices were riding the top of the bubble. We were pretty happy (and I guess it all works out), that we did not have a $400/sq. ft. space (or the mortgage for one) when the bubble burst in 2008-2009.
We have been sad to see several of our competitors struggle, and some go out of business during the great recession. Meanwhile, we have had some pretty good years. It’s countercyclical.
Back in the day, we saw a lot of competitors spend outrageously on cars, real estate, travel, entertainment…what we used to call conspicuous consumption. We never felt comfortable doing that. But high-flying, large-living, gucci-loafer-sans-socks clients went for that in a big way. It was kind of a bubble in and of itself. Large-living clients hooking up with large-living agencies, not knowing any other way to measure success.
Now days, it seems that clients are looking for sensible agencies in sensible shoes. Folks who know why advertising exists (to create transactions, baby). They want to see that their money is working. Those have always been our kind of clients.
They say things are turning around. There’s an awesome high-rise just about a hundred feet away. So, here we go again. Kinda makes us nervous, if you know what I mean.