Yesterday something happened at work that I can't stand.
I got an email directly from the client.
With no account people cc'd.
I don't like that.
I believe in some of the old advertising verities.
I enjoy client contact but I want an account person I trust around.
Mostly to make sure I don't say or do anything stupid.
Or promise something that's out of scope.
Or agree to think about something without a job number.
Or some other 21st Century sin.
Last night was doubly annoying.
The client said they seem to remember a manifesto I had written that explained their tagline--the putative foundation of the company.
They couldn't find it.
Could I resend.
I found this sad.
Our tagline is not new. In fact, it's three-years-old.
A tagline that defines your brand is something that clients--and agency people--should have imprinted.
You should be able to rattle off its meaning like you can spout your Social Security number.
That is, you should feel fucked without it.
I happen to think that we are all so busy, we have so much shit flowing our way, that as a society we no longer can step back and look at the big picture.
We have filled up our days and our lives with so much trivia, so much noise, we have forgotten what we make.
We have laid waste our powers.
About ten years ago I was one of a small core of people at Ogilvy who were at times charged with writing eight-page inserts for our clients.
These were veritable tomes which laid out in no uncertain terms what the client did, for whom they did it, why it worked and why it was important.
About five years ago, I decided that these manifestos were too too much.
No one had the stomach for them any more.
I developed something I called a minifesto.
Between 100 and 200 words that set the tone, task and tenor of a client.
Today, I usually wind up charged with doing something even briefer.
I call these minutefestos.
Charting the course of a client in the minute they give you to think.