18 September 2009

What is Ad Majorem?

Thank you for visiting my blog, Ad Majorem. It’s a view from within a large agency, and how an executive there embraces the changes and challenges of modern marketing and advertising.

The title, Ad Majorem, is part of a familiar Latin phrase and loosely translates to English as “to the greater”. In other words, this time of change is actually an opportunity for better advertising: stronger consumer insights, more powerful ideas, channel-neutral marketing plans, and accountability so we know what sells and what doesn’t.

The “ad” in Ad Majorem means all marketing communications, from social media to direct mail to Internet gaming to television commercials. To most consumer audiences all of these are advertising. My professional experience in these channels allows me to provide a perspective that is part specialist, part generalist.

This is not the umpteenth blog devoted to emerging media and the exciting world of digital. The topic here is how to move clients' businesses forward regardless of media.

There is much talk that large ad agencies are in trouble today, in part because they do not recognize the need to change their business model from the old, familiar, mass media model. I will write about this situation since I work in a large agency, but the content should prove interesting for advertisers themselves, students, career hopefuls, critics, and of course my colleagues at agencies large and small.

Don’t come here for dirt, fear or loathing. The closest I’ll come to that is self-criticism of the marketing business. Occasionally I’ll stray into a review of a campaign but only for the purpose of discussing the overall state of the industry.

Please comment. Otherwise this wouldn’t be an honest look at an industry where communication with consumers should be two-way, not just one-way.

This brings me to Ad Majorem’s reason for being: To keep myself honest on embracing the challenges and changes of modern marketing. My hope is that you, too, will derive some professional growth from it.


  1. You're off to a good start. The marketing landscape is changing so quickly, I think its essential to do a little self-examination now and again. I look forward to seeing your musings.

  2. Thanks very much, Jill! I hope you will comment fast and frequently. It is wonderful to hear from you again!

  3. Steve,
    Finally I get the secret handshake! The Jesuits' motto is as relevant today as it was in the time of Ignatius. It matters not what we do, whether digging ditches, or advertising, or management consulting, so long as we honor the greater glory of the Creator as we do it. What a shockingly deep and humble acknowledgment in these cynical times.

  4. Thank you, Jim -- the challenge, day by day, is to actually live by it.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. @Glenn: Since you introduced Latin, consider "Ad Majorem", or "to the greater" because we should all be trying to improve our game in a time of great change.

    Hi Steve,
    It's been a few years since I took latin, but I appreciate the sentiments in Ad Majorem.
    Yes, we all need to up our game these days, I believe the trick is not so much worrying about why change has occurred, but better to see that the world is different now and we must adapt as we progress. It's like surfing, constantly adjusting your stance to compensate for the shifts of the roller. Scary, but exciting.
    And I'm happy to see that you are at Draft in Chicago. Do you know my friends Gerald Cuesta and Howie Ronay?
    I'll look forward to exploring Ad Majorem.

  6. Steve ,

    You are a Renaissance Practioner- keep up the interesting work.

    Dan Bowens