Comparing the legendary “show about nothing” with a full-service agency that prides itself on doing everything might not seem like a logical parallel, but diving into the eccentric characters that made Seinfeld so famous also sheds light on the inner workings of the agency world.
Account Executives – Jerry Seinfeld
The voice of reason for clients while also conveniently intertwined with all agency support staff, Account Executives, like Jerry, immerse themselves in the goings-on of everyone’s lives. Confidently navigating the ups and downs of the automotive landscape garners trust from clients, but it’s the arrogance and (perceived) undeserved sense of accomplishment that keeps anyone from getting too close.
Competing Agencies – Newman
Every good story requires an antagonist, and for Jerry, his personal nemesis, Newman, epitomized this role. For Mudd Advertising, our “Newman” is the competing agency, the persistent buzzing in the ear of our clients. With an unrivaled cache of over-promising and (most of the time) under-delivering, competing agencies keep us on our toes. Although loathed, competition drives an agency to improve… acquiring new talent, improving upon proprietary technology, and streamlining account management to better serve marketing partners. Newman longed to catch Jerry with his guard down, likewise, competing agencies live for situations where you’ve fallen asleep at the wheel.
Creative Directors – Cosmo Kramer
There may be no better way to describe Kramer than “quirky.” That same title is often applied to the personalities of creative types, and specifically those tasked with leading or directing creative departments. It was obvious Kramer was wired differently, but those nuances were always entertaining and conveniently forward thinking. Creative Directors live according to their own rules, so spending time and energy trying to minimize their quirkiness is time and energy better spent elsewhere. Besides, more often than not, these professionals come out smelling like roses through big ideas, enlightened pitches and coffee table books about coffee tables.
Scriptwriters – George Costanza
George endeared himself to fans of Seinfeld through his neurotic, anti-social behavior. Always stumbling into socially-awkward situations, George still had the wherewithal to free himself, even if it meant someone would succumb to envelope glue poisoning. Scriptwriters, often seen as extensions of the creative directors, find themselves in similar, caught-in-the-middle situations, seemingly always focused on bringing to life someone else’s ideas, when their own creative wisdom (potentially) deserves more recognition. At the same time, like George, they’ve got it made. Whereas George somehow climbed the corporate ladder within the Yankee’s organization (only to long for ways to avoid work altogether), scriptwriters are often left to their own devices, neither garnering the recognition nor blame for a campaign’s successes or failures.
Account Managers – Elaine Benes
Horrifically bad dancers that somehow possess an inability to age, Account Managers — the Elaine Benes of the advertising agency — are the unshakable extensions of the Account Executives/Jerry Seinfelds. Always willing to give an honest opinion to their partners, even when the truth hurts, Account Managers are the glue in an agency, just like Elaine was the straw stirring the drink on Seinfeld. Their unique insight into everyday events and curiously-firm lack of interest in becoming an Account Executive (or in Elaine’s case, a reluctance to develop a relationship with Jerry), makes them an invaluable part of the team.
Media Buyers – Frank and Estelle Costanza
Just as Frank and Estelle earned their right to be stubborn, so too have media buyers earned their right as the experts in an arena where you either know your stuff, or you don’t. In the media world, there is very little left open for interpretation, and the same was true for Mr. and Mrs. Costanza. Whether it was a painful military memory (over seasoned food forcing servicemen to the latrines) or a unique spin on a Christmas tradition (a Festivus for the rest of us), Frank and Estelle knew the shortest path was a straight line. Serving as the backbone of an advertising agency, media buyers have the relationships, negotiating chops, and stockpile of facts and figures to obliterate the naysayers.
Media Reps – Kenny Bania
The semi-recurring character everyone loathed on Seinfeld, Kenny Bania remained undeniably optimistic. His comedic suggestions, taste for high-end menswear, and constant yearning for lunch or dinner with Jerry, create an all-too-easy comparison to persistent media reps. Bania could forge relationships with close allies of the main characters — in the case of media reps, media buyers with agency clients — causing a pseudo friendship to develop. Ultimately, paths will always cross, and sometimes you might just find yourself with a brand new Armani suit… but it’ll cost you.
Interns – David Puddy
What else can be said about these lovable sidekicks and their undying commitment, besides: “You gotta support the team!”