Friday, February 20, 2009


When you come to think about it, a lot of my 1000+ posts over the last 20 months have been about testicles. Metaphorical testicles, of course.

By testicles I mean candor, making tough decisions, taking the paper away and saying no to dumbness or rudeness. As I think Bernbach said, "they're not principles until they cost you money." So by testicles I mean having principles.

If you're a CEO what do you do if two slides into a client presentation the lead client starts texting? Do you keep presenting as if you don't notice? Or do you stop the meeting and say something like, "We worked really hard on this presentation and are quite proud of it. If you need a few minutes before you give us your undivided attention, we'll take ten. OK?"

Maybe I'm in a testy mood because I've had three pitches in the last ten days and have been subject to a degree of rudeness on the part of various prospective clients and a degree of pusillanimity on the part of virtually everyone.

I suppose by testicles I really mean let's all us agency people join virtual hands and say "we are a profession. Treat us as well as you would treat an endodontist." Our profession will never get respect until we earn it by demanding it.


Anonymous said...

We just spent a ton of money and time on a pitch, only to have the client--just a few months later--decide they want to do the work themselves after all (no complaints, they just decided they don't want to spend the money). I get that investing in a pitch is hit or miss, but when you win--shouldn't you reap the benefits? Shouldn't clients figure their shit out first before making agencies spar it out for top spot?

Tore Claesson said...

hear, hear.

Laura said...

How rude is it to text, check your e-mail, leave the room or fall asleep during a meeting? I've encountered all of these in the last pitches I have worked on over the last two months. Makes you really wonder how people get away with this behavior, client or non-client.

Anonymous said...

In a presentation eons ago--when the AD and I were just juniors and a bit flummoxed to be presenting to client--the guy sat across from us and took his pen apart, lining the pieces up on the table and even, at one point, shooting the spring clear across the room. We pressed on like nothing was happening, but the CD was getting angrier by the second, and finally told the client we'd worked hard and deserved his full attention.
The moral of the story, I hope, is don't treat anyone, at any level, like they're beneath you. Because

Anonymous said...

Dang--messed that last bit up... I meant to add he got fired and came looking for a job at the agency I later worked at. Needless to say, all I had to do was retell stories of how awful he treated agencies and his CV went into the bin.