Word came out today that the Chicago Sun-Times parted ways with longtime advertising/media critic Lewis Lazare. I for one am sorry to see Lewis go.
I know that's really easy for me to say. Lewis was more than kind to us when we had our shop, Hadrian's Wall. (I occasionally accused him of being more complimentary of our work than we deserved - and I meant it.) But it wasn't just us. He was more than kind to quite a few of the smaller shops in the city. Tom, Dick & Harry, TwoxFour, and Escape Pod, among others.
I don't know what leaders of those other agencies would say, but I always attributed our generous press from him to two things: 1) the work really was sometimes worthy of compliments; 2) we didn't BS him.
We didn't try to spin a story, or deny layoffs, or try to make a campaign sound better than it was. We did nice work, and we sent it out to people. Some people would like it, some wouldn't. (Insert shoulder shrug.) I always assume if our agency's work isn't getting the praise we want, it's not up to us to criticize the critics. It's up to us to do better work.
As an industry, we over-index on people who are willing to pat us on the back, hand us something shiny for the shelves, and tell us we have perfect teeth. I don't mind having a few people call it as they see it, even if I don't always agree.
Years ago, the city's other major daily, the Chicago Tribune, stopped covering marketing. Now, the Sun-Times has as well. We can cheer the loss of a critic all we want.
But as an industry, I'd much rather we be debated than ignored.