Wednesday, January 26, 2011


One of the things I've noticed in the world today is how definitions--that which should bring clarity--have become increasingly un-clear.

Take speed limits, for instance. If a highway is marked at 55, most cops and most drivers assume that they can "get away with," or allow speeds in the low 60s. In baseball, the strike zone--clearly defined on paper--is subject to the caprice and whim of whomever is umpiring. One last example. Online job sites that list jobs under the heading of Creative Director. The title means nothing. Salaries seem to start at the low 40s. And often as few as five year's experience is demanded.

Years ago I went to a client meeting at a huge corporate client--a financial institution. We were about to present our creative when the client--who had been rubbed the wrong way by our account guy--asked to see the brief. The account guy had failed to bring it and so, in the language of our era, was "ripped a new one."

I learned from that and never go into a creative discussion without having the brief with me. These are my instructions. I should either know them in my sleep or have them to refer to.

Yesterday, I presented work internally. The account people were so ready to collaborate, so eager to do my job (which is to create), so eager to add their two cents. Of course, they brought no brief. (the brief they had provided was devoid of insight and had no information hierarchy anyway.)

This business should be pretty simple. Do your job, well. And leave me to do mine.



The credo of the bad account person:
I know how to do everyone's job but my own.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately the biggest scam artists in our industry are not necessarily the ones who do scam ads to win awards, it's all too often those who are supposed to provide strategic and tactical directions to those who do real work. I don't know when I last saw a concise and thoroughly helpful briefing document. (Exception being some thinking from a guy I can name if you ask me nicely. Not surprisingly he's freelancing.) Instead we tend to get a heap of papers filled the stuff we can find on the typical company website, top-lined with an all encompassing wish list of the obvious. Of course, agencies get away with it, because frankly, many people on the client side are doing the same.

Anonymous said...

Well sadly enough account people have the better arselicking talents than most intelligent people. Intelligent people try reasoning but that doesn’t really matter nowadays. Here’s an example.

At my place, we have a skirt judging creative work. A copywriter who’s every line is a pun or play on words, judging other work. Even more sad is the fact that I saw at least two ads today that used the same sentence structure he uses all the time. Made up out of two words followed by a full stop instead of a comma. And this agency pretends to have a good reputation.