Agony Jim: When Will Production Be Free?

March 16, 2016 / Humour

By Jim Watkins

Veteran producer and sage cum digital native Jim Watkins solves your advertising conundra.
This edition: How to cut those pesky and irrelevant production costs.

Dear Jim,

I am a procurement expert. My mission on behalf of my client is complete efficiency and maximum value. I achieve this by demanding that everything my client buys is 15% cheaper each year including, of course, all its advertising and production. I calculate that by the year 2029 my client’s advertising will be virtually free.

It can’t be actually free of course, as due to some arcane mathematical rule it is impossible to get to zero. I’m not an idiot. However I calculate it will cost me less than 5p to make a commercial in 2029.

My question is, given that advertising should be ahead of the game in embracing the future, shouldn’t agencies and production companies move straight to working for advertisers for free now?

Wilf T. Hillingford


Dear Wilf,

You are exactly right. What you are contributing to in your invaluable work is the process of 'infinite growth', whereby companies such as your clients, and with them the economy of our country and indeed all countries in the developed world, will continue to grow year on year, forever.

The costs, side effects or complete logical impossibility of this are, of course, irrelevant. What matters is that growth is good, and benefits us all, however much it may seem not to. As the revered 18th century philosopher and intellectual Dr Pangloss put it, 'All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds'.

You have correctly identified that in the absence of a greater actual demand for your clients' products, growth can be created by shrinking costs ever further, exerting more pressure on suppliers until the last juice is squeezed out of them, at which point their empty husks can be tossed aside and replaced by something younger and riper. 

The trick is not to be distracted by their whimpering or the death rattle as the last breath is crushed from their lungs. These are the sounds of an 'anti-business' cabal determined to stop us marching together into a bright future. 

See you at the party!



If you have a production problem you think Jim Watkins can help with, please email, quoting Agony Jim.

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