Why Kansas City Rocks: The Collective
When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve just a few short days ago, it marked exactly 5 years that I have been in Kansas City. I attended my first AAF-KC event a month after moving in. It just happened to be the ADDY’s. As I walked around and viewed the work, I noticed something strange, something that would change the way I perceived the idea of a true collective.
People weren’t naturally gravitating towards expected agency cliques. They were mingling together, laughing and talking, congratulating and taking pictures. During the presentations, golf claps and jealous glares were replaced by genuine applause and back slaps. Folks were getting up from their agency groups, choosing to sit and drink at competing agency tables. They were hanging. With the enemy. In my experience, this was heresy. Unheard of. Appalling. As Peter Venkman once said, “...human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!” I was shell-shocked. Where I came from, this game was intended to be ruthless. Cutthroat. You didn’t cheer for another agency, you threw daggers. Where were the flame-throwers, the malcontents, the envious? Where was the booing? And for Pete’s sake, why was there so much booze? Because this is Kansas City, and this is what a collective looks like.
I’ve never been around a group of industry people as hell-bent on seeing each other succeed in all my life. When an agency wins a new piece of business, every other agency cheers. CDs are calling rival CDs and offering heart-felt congratulations. Why? Because they don’t see them as rivals. They see them as compatriots, countrymen with a common goal: win business for Kansas City. I’ve never been in a place so together for the common good. I’ve never celebrated a win with the losing agencies. Why? Because as long as Kansas City wins, nobody loses. This is what a collective looks like.
For those who haven’t experienced ad life outside the BBQ Belt, this is not normal. This is unique, it’s special. We should be honored to be here, in this time, in this industry. Just ask Kevin Fullerton, I don’t know anyone who is a bigger advocate for this town and this ad community than Kevin (I dare him to preach. I double-dog dare him.) I am privileged to be on the AAF-KC board and every month, I sit around the table and see a multitude of agencies represented, coming together to serve what I can only describe as the greatest ad community I have ever experienced. Every month, I watch as they help each other through projects, through trials, through questions and through triumphs. I watch as they schedule lunches and tap bottlenecks. Their business cards say they don’t work together, but that’s not quite true.
This is Kansas City, and this is what a collective looks like.