As the dysfunctional government in the United States has shut down for the third time in 20 years, I began thinking this morning about compromise.
To many on Capitol Hill, compromise is a dirty word, an anathema. To many in our business, a compromise is similarly viewed. It goes something like this: If we don't stick to our creative guns we will ruin the work and our careers and become the embodiment of Agency Spy's favorite word: hack.
Intransigence, the opposite of compromise, is regarded as the equivalent of integrity. Likewise, loud and fractious intransigence is seen as the hallmark of creative genius.
Over the nearly 30 years of my career, I've taken a much more diplomatic approach to compromise, mostly because, I believe, that clients are entitled to their point of view. My policy has always been to listen to what the client is saying and either find a way to accommodate it without sacrificing the whole, or tear up the ad and start fresh.
It would be nice to live in a world where you always got your way. And perhaps my portfolio would be better if I won every pitched battle and never had to add some bullshit line of copy to a script.
But I always think of this.
Legend had it that Bill Bernbach carried a card around in his wallet. Printed on it were these words: "Maybe he's right."