Friday, March 4, 2011


I've been writing this blog for about 1,500 days and have written well-over 2,000 posts. Yeah, some of them have been lame-brained and some of them have been one-liners, but some of them, I think, have been measured, thoughtful and even astute.

I'm a writer in my soul, a copywriter by profession, so I do what I do. I write. I try to tap into my thoughts, observe the world and put it all down on digital paper.

To my mind, it's all very simple. Writers write.

Right now half a dozen of my Facebook friends are planners who seem to be attending TED. If writers write, designers design, photographers shoot, directors direct and comedians joke, I'm wondering what planners do to keep themselves sharp--plan?

What is it they produce? What do they make that advances the ball?


Tore Claesson said...

Many planners mostly leech on the insecurities of clients. For example by implementing seriously flawed scam research schemes such as focus groups they also make life hell for the writers, the photographers, the directors the doers. A topic on which we could write volumes. And when they're not making hell they get to go to TED instead of watching it on youtube at their desks like the rest of us.

dave trott said...

The guy who invented planning (not 'brand' planning, proper planning) was Stanley Pollitt of BMP.
I was a junior there while he was inventing it.
He said a planner should be 'a free-floating intellect'.
Account men only worry about keeping clients happey.
Creatives only worry about winning awards.
Someone should be thinking about the bigger picture, spotting opportunities the others don't.
Thinking laterally in the Edward de Bono sense.
Didn't quite turn out like that did it?

george tannenbaum said...

Dave and Tore,

Maybe it's my martyr complex, but it seems like the very model of the modern agency is made up of a small group of people who actually create the product we sell and a very much larger number of people who sit in judgment of that work--usually after the fact.

What special aptitudes, insights, intellect or encouragement do planners bring.

A bunch of blowhards.

Tore Claesson said...

It's easier to judge and criticize others work. It's easy to take others opinions (focus groups for example) and hold long serious meetings discussion what was said in the groups. Whether the yellow background gives a brighter impression that the dark gray background, whether a picture of a smiling person send a friendlier message than the version without a smiling person, etc. It's easy, especially today, with so much online, to concoct long presentations with numbers that essentially are meaningless. All this pseudo science clouds the real issues. The real issue that not everyone can come up with compelling ideas, not everyone can write a story that can hold a reader, not everyone can paint a picture that fascinates or take a photo that jumps out and grab you, is thus avoided. The thing called talent. Not everyone has it. But everyone can have an opinion about it. The packaging of those opinions and the language its presented in, disguises the fact that it's often nothing but thin air without oxygen. The business of having an opinion about it is a more lucrative business than actually creating anything. That's why only about 20% of an agency is made up of people who actually do something, like ads. The rest live off what the creatives do. That might be why they always try to belittle the"crazy" creative. And make the art of not making anything become the more important part of the business. Last but not least,to David's point. Proper planning the way it was meant to be, the Pollitt way, is highly useful and a great tool for creatives.