AdAge: Rance Crain

Advertising Age - Rance Crain
Advertising Age - Rance Crain

Why Stan Richards Will Never Sell: It's the Path to 'Mediocrity'

Stan Richards has "watched a hundred agencies be acquired" and said, "I cannot name one that got better."

The founder of The Richards Group in Dallas, the biggest independent ad agency in the U.S., with billings over $1 billion, plans to leave his controlling stake in it to a nonprofit with the stipulation it will never be sold. Stan says the nonprofit will have no say in how the agency is run and will receive a yearly stipend for serving as the stock's safekeeping place.

He's never been tempted to sell to a holding company. "It's been really easy for me to say no," he said.

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Could Coke Still Teach the World to Sing?

Advertisers are making a big mistake by taking as gospel what people say -- or don't say -- about their products or advertising on social media. Except, of course, when it's United Airlines.

Social media attracts people who feel vehemently about something and also people who just want to join in the chorus. But they don't always reflect majority opinion.

And to make matters worse, it becomes difficult to voice a counter opinion, because the dissenter will be immediately jumped on and torn apart limb by limb. It takes a very brave person to go up against an angry mob.

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Can Advertisers Really Tell Their Agencies How to Make Money?

Let bygones be bygones seemed to be the theme of this year's 4A's conference in Los Angeles.

Both agencies and clients signaled that their appetite for confronting one another was much diminished, and execs were also relativity subdued when it came to blaming the big digital players for their transgressions.

In fact, much of the conference could be viewed through the prism of digital advertising brought to you

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Bad Ref Call Hurts Credibility of All Sports Brands

When I was sports editor of the Daily Northwestern in 1959 our football team was riding high. After winning our first six games, Northwestern was ranked No. 2 in the country, and we were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Unfortunately, we lost the last three games and our coach, Ara Parseghian, soon after left for Notre Dame. The team descended into Mediocreville for many years.

What happened was not a travesty. We just ran out of gas. But this year's NCAA Tournament, where Northwestern appeared for the first time ever, was nothing less than highway robbery that should not go unpunished. It should, at the very least, have long-term implications for the good of sports.

Northwestern got into the playoffs by beating Michigan against all odds. After a Michigan basket to tie the score with 1.7 seconds left, Nathan Taphorn threw the inbound pass the length of the court to Dererk Pardon, who hit a layup for the win, 67-65. The Wildcats lost their last game to Purdue by four points, but they were still good enough to make the last seed in the NCAA playoffs. They finished with an overall 24-12 record, their best performance ever.

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'Take It or Leave Its' or 'So Whats' Would Help Internet Brands

Do you think there's any correlation between a less-than-robust economy and marketers' increased reliance on digital commerce and advertising?

The 21st century hasn't been very cooperative so far. David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times, says the current time period is "looking much nastier and bumpier" than the 20th century.

"Rising ethnic nationalism, falling faith in democracy, a dissolving world order." And, I would add, the 21st century marks the rise and absolute domination of the internet.

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