Looking beyond the quirky one-liners and exaggerated happiness of paid actors, the global boss of a major advertising firm says the greatest irony in his industry is the negative view it takes of itself.
"Here's the irony," starts FCB global chief executive Carter Murray in an exclusive interview with the Herald.
"Everybody who's in our business seems to want to get out and everyone who's not in our business seems to want in.
"A lot of people in advertising are going: 'Ah, the industry is doomed and isn't it terrible. We need to go reinvent ourselves and become a something else company'. Meanwhile, you've got the Accentures of the world, the consultants and venture capitalists who are all trying to get into the industry."
He warns that when you're sitting in the trenches of your industry, day in and day out, things can start to look bleak, but this doesn't always live up to the reality of what's going on in the industry.
He's seen this all before and is familiar with the way change can bring a negative sentiment where there previously wasn't any.
One of the most memorable examples happened the tech boom, which served up woeful predictions with the regularity of terrible website ideas.
"I remember when we had those web gurus back in the 90s saying advertising is dead and marketing will never be the same again, but here we are 20 years later and finding a positioning for a client is as important now as it was then," Murray says.
"Gurus are for religion. They're not for marketing."
He says that the industry has to get back to championing what the industry is actually good at rather than worrying about what might happen in the future.
"What our industry has forgotten is that our point of difference is our creativity… When clients come to us, we're supposed to come up with a creative and lateral solution, they cannot come up with themselves."
"What makes us truly different is creativity. If you lose that, you'll commoditise the industry and that will be a big problem."
Murray's message has real resonance at a time when business confidence in New Zealand has hit the doldrums, with many business owners taking a dire view of the prospects of New Zealand.
But the advertising boss thinks it's important to take a broader view and remember that New Zealand still has a lot you can't find elsewhere.
He says he first noticed this when he came here several years ago.
"I really saw New Zealand as a North star," he says.
"When I looked at the rest of the network, I thought about how I could replicate that across the world."
Murray appointed New Zealand's Bryan Crawford as the vice-chairman of the global company, a position that has seen him fly across the world and offer mentorships to executives at FCB agencies around the world.
"We took all that DNA from New Zealand, bottled it through Bryan and we now have him transport it into other offices."
"From New Zealand being the North star, we now have a constellation of stars."
Admittedly, things haven't always gone according to plan. In recent years, the New Zealand office has lost a few major accounts and endured a slightly tumultuous period at the executive level with a number of key departures, including that of former chief executive Dan Martin after only a year in charge.
Asked about the high-profile changes, Murray chooses his words carefully.
"When you have a strong culture, sometimes the body can reject the organ," he says.
He explained that this doesn't mean there's necessarily anything wrong with either side, but rather that they aren't a good match.
"We learnt from that quickly and made the changes rapidly.
"I don't think it's a matter of right or wrong. That's why I don't like criticising the people who have come and gone. They're all very talented in their own right."
Around four months ago, the agency appointed Kiwi advertising executive Paul Shale, who has since undertaken a reset of the business.
Shale's tenure has thus far been relatively quiet – that is until a Friday several weeks ago, when a quirky Herald story quickly took the world by storm.
With that in mind, any discussion with the global boss of FCB would incomplete without mention of the notorious clown that lurked the agency's Auckland premises recently.
So what does the boss think of his former employee's audacious move several weeks ago?
"We're in a creative business and I actually think that was incredibly creative," Murray laughs.
"If someone did that in a job interview I'd hire them."
Murray said that the only pity was that it happened on the way out rather than the way in.
"I'm a parent of three young boys and my advice to them, when they get old, would be: 'If you're going to be that creative, can you do it in your job interview and not in your job exit?'"