Sunday, June 21, 2009

Global low-balling plays hell with creative fees

Seems like every ad agency or company dealing with communication these days wants to hire one person who can write AND design -- and manage a department, keep track of a budget, split atoms, and juggle knives, bowling balls and flaming torches while making Belgian waffles.

These creative jobs would normally take three people to fill: a writer, a designer, and at least a Creative Group Head. But that was before The Great Recession, aka The Never-Ending Deep-Doo-Doo Economy. I kid you not, I saw an ad for a Creative Director job in Kansas City with all the above requirements (I think gene splicing experience was also "preferred."), and the salary was... wait for it... $35,000 per year. Yes. And they'll probably get some recent college grad to do it. Or outsource the job to one of the highly educated unemployed in India, who will do the job for 12¢ per day.

This global low-balling is playing hell with the creative fee structure. I post my samples at, but I gave up trying to get jobs on that site long ago. Because most of them pay "under $500." And most of the clients are not exactly professional. And you see jobs like the one I came across the other day, offered by a client who sought a "top-quality" copywriter to produce 60 (that's sixty) 500-word articles, every one original, with no cut-and-paste, all proofread and perfect. And the fee he would pay for all this quality and perfection? $125. One hundred twenty-five dollars. Which is equivalent to approximately $7 million in India.

I'd have to move to India to afford to take any of those jobs. Hmm. A Plan B? Well, I've always liked the food...

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