Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I am sitting at my table overhearing two people talk about some work they are doing. One guy says to another, "We have to swap those puppies and bump that up." After spending a second or two choking on my own vomit I think back to a client I had many years ago when I worked on a well-known German automaker and former slave-labor employer.

I had written a deep and thoughtful bit of copy about a particular car. Like much of what I do, it was detailed and rich in information. I had learned--and communicated-- more about the car than the client knew. Still she was reviewing the copy, so naturally she was compelled to make a comment.

"Can you beef up the copy a bit," she asked me.

"What do you mean?" I responded. "There's a lot of information here."

"Just beef it up a little," she repeated.

"How little?" I asked. "T-bone? Filet? Rib eye?"

"What are you talking about?" She was getting pissed.

"You said you wanted the copy beefed up. What kind of beef?"

"I just mean strengthen it."

"Where is it weak? What is missing? What do you need?"

"Why are you such a pain in the ass? Can't you just beef it up?"


Unknown said...

I had almost exactly that conversation this morning (without quite so many specific cuts of beef mentioned). Why is it so difficult for clients to give thoughtful feedback?

KT said...

Your German car-maker employer and former slave labor exploiter--your client, understood the English cuts of beef?

george tannenbaum said...

This particular client was an American.