In my proud opinion, Advertising is about the coolest profession ever. It is a unique combination of art, creativity, maths, psychology, marketing, media and CHEMISTRY!
You may beg to differ, but I think Advertising is a youthful business, for people in their 20s, 30s and persons who are young at heart (wanna do a headcount of peepz within that age bracket in your Agency?). With all that zest and passion to do a great job comes lots of on-the-job chemistry.
Truth is, if there’s no chemistry, there are no great ideas.
How about we reiterate what the ideation process is really like? Lots of happy-go-lucky guys and ladies ‘locked’ up in a room, no conference, trying to dissect a brief or themselves, whichever happens first (anything for the client, you know). Without creative collaboration, communication and chemistry, nothing happens. There’s no science or formula to it.
Infact, most Ad. Agencies recognize and encourage this form of bonding when they pair up copywriters and art directors to work on certain projects. There’s something magical about being in a room together, making occasional eye glances and just sitting there and laughing loud together and having a good time together whilst brainstorming on an idea or ideas together.
Creative teams spend more time together than they spend with their respective family members, spouses or partners. During that time, endless hours are spent working on solutions. They are honest with each other…they tell each other when an idea is not working and should be discarded. They try to solve issues and make ideas work. While doing this, bonding occurs, more like a creative marriage especially between an art director and a copywriter. They are like kindred, creative spirits that augment their abilities when they work together.
When an art director and a copywriter really connect over a concept, the feeling is nothing short of orgasmic. Creativity overflows…they lose track of time or even forget to eat. In such a state, the perfect copy spill across the page and the right visuals appear almost as if by some miracle.
Admit it or not, you need to have a credit in “Chemistry” to practice Advertising. It is very critical to idea generation.
But hold on one second, while reading this post, what account manager, art director or copywriter comes to mind? You know, that duo or trio when allowed to team up produce nothing short of awesome work ‘cos of their amazing chemistry? Or do you think this whole chemistry talk is a tad overrated? Pray, tell!
My idea is cooler than yours…
Really? Like showstopper, head-turner and shii, yea?
Hahahahahahaha…I know right?
There really wouldn’t be any problem with the universe if the above conversation began and ended just like that…all hearty laughter, no hurt feelings, no hurtful words. Unfortunately though, Idea Conflict is real…and serious.
Finally we have an issue on our hands that has absolutely nothing to do with the client… (Says who? Is it not while generating ideas for C that people who before then were jolly good friends automatically become enemies? Please.) Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies.
Idea Conflicts occur when ideas, decisions or actions relating directly to the job or a brief are in opposition, or when two people just don’t get along. It is particularly dominant during brainstorms, widely used by Ad. Agencies to generate ideas and solve problems. However, many brainstorming activities are flawed and end up hurting creativity rather than helping spur ideas.
This is especially the case when people have conflicting ideas. Oftentimes, people fixate on the first dominant idea expressed in a brainstorm to the extent that additional ideas are viewed as gibberish. It gets even worse when the person with a different but brilliant idea is a junior person.
Here’s what I think…
People who drown other people’s ideas are all shades of insecure and suffer serious complex issues. Then there is the fear of relegation. So of the brilliant ideas thought up in a brainstorm session, none came from the almighty senior account manager with a pay that’s sinfully high? And you think that your idea will fly? Really? LOL.
But jokes apart, people need to drop their competitive egos.
A conflict of ideas can often be productive, if the parties involved are willing to ‘brainstorm’ solutions together. Studies have shown that critique and conflict can result in better and more imaginative ideas. Conflict of this kind often generates better work practices and initiates positive changes that would otherwise never have occurred.
Instead of critiquing an idea with the mindset of ‘killing’ it, look to clarify and expand upon it in order to generate additional concepts. That’s what great Admen do. You should improve on an idea and never crush it until you know for a fact it cannot be executed.
If you and some other colleague have opposing ideas, the least you can do is be calm and reasonable. Your aim shouldn’t be to win the argument, well unless that translates to a raise which I doubt it would. Have an open-mind and do not be unnecessarily judgmental. Be prepared to compromise.
But what do you think? What would you do if a senior colleague repeatedly insists that your visibly brilliant idea is not brilliant at all and will not see the light of day? Would you pay Mr. Herb A. List a courtesy visit at his shrine on his behalf? Down a bottle of…? Or something equally fantastic? 🙂
Go all out…Think outside the box…Don’t box yourself…Think like there’s no box…
Box ko…Bugs bunny nii. Mscheeeeew!
Few things are as annoying as getting a brief from a client asking Agency to go all out – come up with ground-breaking, original and creative ideas and then they end up discarding 90% of the brilliant ideas thought up on extraneous grounds.
More often than not, when clients see a groundbreaking, creative, unique idea, their first reaction is FEAR…No, that can’t work here…It simply cannot be done…The market isn’t ready for this…maybe it would work in the next couple of years but definitely not now. We’ve never done anything like that. Most clients don’t like uncharted waters…They’d rather be safe than ingenious.
But just so we’re clear…why exactly do organisations engage the services of Ad. Agencies? After all, thanks to new technology and the internet, they can do so much advertising and marketing work themselves…DIY kit anyone?
For some reasons though, top of which are an Agency’s massive experience, knowledge of best practice, style, values, approach and staff, most organisations have decided to recruit an Agency to help build/push their brands.
So why can’t they just trust Agencies to do a freaking brilliant job? You hired them for a reason. You hired them for their expertise and talents…no?
Agencies need to be given the opportunity to share their skills and prove themselves worthy of your trust. Stop being risk averse….try something new and different. Push boundaries. Innovate.
Your agency is trying their best to help you–they are not the enemy. All they want to do is a great job and, if you’ve chosen yours wisely, should have the ability to help positively impact your business. Do not make your Agency go through the meat grinder…they think outside the box but the ideas never go past your Powerpoint document.
Truth is, Agencies value their reputation and they know that the better they make their client look, the better they look. Agencies want to win awards too. Agencies are often trying to manage multiple jobs and tasks, for you and other clients, all at the same time. They want good referrals and ultimately they desire BIG clients ‘cos they come with less stress and plenty money!
Here’s what I think:
Clients need to begin to trust Agencies a lot more. Be the client that an Agency would be willing to run through walls for. Be that client who respects smart work, understands what it takes to do one, and respect the talents and experience of the people doing it. Be that client that goes through every possibility until you know for a fact it can or cannot be done.
Now how about you take this pledge:
I pledge to *insert name of Agency* my Agency
To be reasonable, faithful and creative
To always allow them think outside the box
Never killing a brilliant idea out of fear of the unknown
But to always follow through, exploring possibilities, right to the very end
So help me God
Here’s to a better Client/Agency relationship. *clinks wine glasses*
BottleForThePain: Now what part of I’VE GOT A BRIEF TO CRACK do you not understand?
Client: *gulps down a bottle of vodka, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and sports a wry grin that gives him a look no different from a horse* Yeah, brief…my brief…I don’t understand why it’s taking you guys forever to revert. Ahmean, it’s been like…what?…1 week?
BottleForThePain: Not to worry. Nikki is on it.
Client: Nikk wat! Haaaaaay nowwwwww! I don’t want that girl on my account…not now not ever! Here’s a girl who can hardly make a complete sentence without hurling a mouthful of spit at you like one with a head injury…how’s she going to hold up a presentation without getting us soaked and you know it’s bad luck to use an umbrella indoors, right? She has no advertising experience whatsoever and she types like an eighty year old woman with a bad case of cataract! I’m not so trusting of her if she has to engage anything from her neck up…she can’t…
BottleForThePain: *cuts in* Hold up… I’m guessing you’ve got it all mixed up. I mean Nikki…Nikki your girl…the one you specifically instructed the Agency to offer a job…your brilliant, multi-talented Nikki. You even dictated what her annual salary would be…as per HR and things…
Client: Yeah? That I asked you guys to give her a job does not mean I want her on my account! That babe does not know j.a.c.k! She’s as clueless as…as Pinky!
BottleForThePain: The mouse? Wow!..That’s wicked, man.
Client: So are you going to correct this anomaly or not? Take her somewhere else…please.
Client: See…I know what bad hires can do to a business.
BottleForThePain: *in a sarcastic tone* You do?
Client: Bad hires are like a malignant tumor; you either do all you can to avoid it and in the event that you have it, you do all you can to get rid of it. You see, it’s unfortunate that most Agencies do not think twice when a jerk on the client side decides to impose a staff on them. And this is totally wrong! Hiring the wrong employee wastes time, money and causes unnecessary frustration for everyone… kinda feels like having a boil up your rear end…
More often than not, what you’d find is an environment filled with murmuring, bickering and hate. Ahmean, what do you expect when other members of the team are made to suffer because some ‘bird-brain’ imposed by a client on the agency cannot shoulder his/her fair share of the workload…Then there’s the risk of a counterproductive thought pattern…the other team members will start thinking “Why should I kill myself on this job when XYZ who’s as dumb as a door knob, puts in very little effort and still gets a monthly pay that’s sinfully high?”
See man, no one should be swayed by sentiments…all that errm… she’s the daughter of my mentor; we attended the same college; if we don’t recruit him we may lose the account…Classic bullshit! All that is of no importance in choosing the right person for the job. Here’s a tip for you and your team: NEVER HIRE ANYONE WITH A PERSONALITY THAT DOESN’T FIT OR SKILLS THAT ARE BELOW AWESOME. NOT EVEN FROM THE CLIENT…THAT MUCH YOU OWE TO YOUR ALREADY FANTASTIC TEAM.
Implement a ‘No jerk’ policy in your Agency and the client will respect and love you for it. The minute you compromise on quality you’ve already begun the descent.
BottleForThePain: *mouth agape*
Client: *gulps down more vodka* This conversation never happened. I’m out…for real this time.
BottleForThePain: *visibly shocked* Was that really C…my C?
PS: The entire conversation is a figment of the writer’s bottled up imagination
BottleForThePain: Hello #Admen! What’s good? Thanks for reading our posts, thanks for the comments, the RTs and most importantly, thanks for putting in a word for us amongst your friends and colleagues. You guys are the absolute best! Hope the client has been good, even though that sounds like an oxymoron…
Client: And what the heck is that suppose to mean?
BottleForThePain: Meaning of oxymoron? Send a brief to your Agency asking for the meaning. Are they not on retainer?
Client: Hahahahahahaha… We’re really not that bad you know…Nice blog by the way. I’m a regular reader. Some deep and honest stuff you’ve got right here.
BottleForThePain: You’re kidding right? You serious? OMG! Thank you! Good to know a client is reading!
Client: Yea, but that’s about it. We read, laugh and move on. Doesn’t change the fact that Agencies are our slaves…I mean partners and they gotta do what they gotta do. They gotta deliver or we replace them…it’s really that simple.
BottleForThePain: *smh* Oh, well…anyway, now that you’re here can we deal with some pertinent issues. It’d be nice to hear your POV on matters that bother around certain clients imposing new staff on Agency at ‘gunpoint’; clients getting kickbacks larger than Agency fee; clients stealing Agencies’ ideas without paying a dime; clients and their last minute fire-brigade approach to work…
Client: *cuts in* Bottle, hold one second…hold it right there…it really isn’t my fault you’re on the Agency side and I, on the client-side you know…’cos I really don’t understand what all these acrimony is about…you mean to tell me that if you’re offered a job this minute by one of ‘em Multinationals, you’d comfortably reject the offer?
BottleForThePain: Look C, that’s besides the poi…
Client: *cuts in* No! That IS the point! Answer! Would you reject a job offer from a client…with a salary that’s twice your current peanut pay? Ahmean, what are we not talking about here? Client this, client that…so what if we impose unqualified staff on Agencies?
Client: So what if we get enormous kickbacks larger than Agency fee and expensive gifts from Agencies on our birthdays…so what if we pre-select Agency peepz who’d manage our accounts and insist they take‘client-service’ to a whole new level?
BottleForThePain: *mouth agape* A whole new level? Ooooooochimo!
Client: Yea, it’s called ‘Clieeeeeeeent-service’ for a reason. Duh! So what if we never know what we want? So what if we barely qualify for our positions, earn lots of money enough to feed a third-world country and do nothing but act busy from week to week? So freaking whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? We pay the bills that keep Agencies in business and that’s all that matters. He who pays the piper dictates the fucking tune! Copy that! I’m out!
BottleForThePain: *bites fingers furiously whilst replaying the latter part of our conversation* It’s called clieeeeeeeent-service for a reason? *nods* Interesting…#ThingsWeLearnEveryday
Client: *walks back* But you know that was all a joke yea? Admen rock you know! Hey, Bottle, where your mates at? I need a bottle for this pai…set-up 😦
BottleForThePain: Yo, C. If you don’t mind, I’ve got a brief to crack…*moonwalks* I’m out! 😀
PS: The entire conversation is a figment of the writer’s bottled up imagination.
Few days ago, I saw a status update on the Facebook page of an Ad. Agency.
It read: “Working till 9pm few days a week is the Agency way of life. It’s not just about the money but our passion for the job. LIKE this post if you agree”
I can’t remember if the post got a lot of LIKES…but I can vividly remember that I was a tad upset…upset because as at the time I read the post, my Boss had just informed the team that we’d have to work late as there was a brief from a client that required urgent attention. I looked at my wristwatch. Time was 7:30pm. No joke.
Between the Client and the Account Manager, someone would have been shot that night – the latter, especially. Ahmean, why on God’s green earth would an Account Manager agree on a workable timeline with a client without confirming from the guys in Creative? But this again is an #AdRant for another day…
Here’s what I think…An ideal employee isn’t one who goes from 6am till 11pm everyday. No. It’s also not a crime if an employee leaves work after 8 working hours. No, it’s not. It’s perfectly okay. It has absolutely nothing to do with his work capability.
Working till very late several days a week isn’t proof of a dedicated, hardworking team. As a matter of fact, it oftentimes reflects bad management on the part of the Head of Department. Ever heard of time and people management?
When we work ourselves to death, what exactly do we stand to gain? Bonuses? A thank you e-mail from God…scratch that…the MD? A pat on the back?
What is all that compared to a debilitating health, strained family and love relationships? Like you put all that matter to you on the line so that a soap can get more brand awareness? Or so that you can meet an unrealistic deadline some bungling account manager promised the client? Are you kidding?
Bonuses are great. But will you spend that money 6ft below?
Thank you e-mails either from the client or the boss is awesome but you can’t put a link to the mail on your CV, can you? So what’s the point?
Hello! This is advertising we’re talking about here, not some higher calling and clients/accounts are as fickle as they come…the ads too. Anyone ever measured what the ‘life expectancy’ of an advertising campaign is? #Lowkey…You now want to come and die there?
Is it ever that serious?
My friends are so pained right now. They just literally asked for a bottle…for the pain. Blue Label, maybe?
Someone stole their ‘meat’ in broad daylight…right before their very eyes…or ‘in their very before’ like my good man Zebrudaya would say.
You would think that since they know who the culprit is, they could get some justice and all would be well with the Universe…for where?
Letter ‘C’ is brutal. No remorse whatsoever. He can’t be ‘bovered’. Infact he will steal from you again and again…Nothing dey happen.
But seriously guys, how do we handle IDEA THEFT by some of these clients?
Every Adman is aware of the hardwork, sleepless nights, money and money’s worth put in to develop a brilliant proposal, especially if it’s a pitch. Great ideas don’t just happen! They are the result of substantial time, effort and resources!
It’s bad enough that after all the time, effort and resources put in a project, an Agency is sent that carefully-worded, heart-breaking mail informing them that they did not win the pitch. Why will a client compound the problem by ‘stealing’ their idea(s) and giving it to another Agency to execute or even execute themselves?! Why?! And they want to make heaven, ba?
Sometimes, Agencies are not even notified of their disqualification. They find out the hard way…just like my friends did. *big sigh* Mehn, you don’t want to know the gist.
Have you ever worked on an Event Proposal, say a Launch campaign for a client. You sent in your proposal like every other Agency. 3 weeks later and still no response from the client. You try to reach your contact on the client-side and he tells you the project is on hold because a particular Director has gone on vacation, visiting his ancestors, friends and family.
You foolishly chill, hoping he gets back to you as soon as he decides to ‘unhold’ the project only for you to see pictures of the Launch Event on BellaNaija the next day! I swear, the only pain close to what you’d feel would be labour pains.
Here’s what I think…Some Clients idea-shop all in the name of a pitch. They just send out RFPs like baits and trust Agencies to fall for the trap. Agencies literally fall over themselves all in a bid to win pitches. The struggle is real, man. Client collates all the ideas, tweaks a few things and executes themselves…or worst still give to a competing Agency.
But enough of the bullcrap! Agencies need to have the audacity to get clients (prospective or current) to sign a legal agreement at the pitch stage, clearly specifying that the ideas put forward cannot be used without the agency’s permission or without adequate compensation.
Infact, there should be Pitch Fee as a line item somewhere in the budget. Agencies should be paid something no matter how small, whether or not they win a pitch or not. At all at all na him bad pass.
How long are we going to continue like this? If you have any useful suggestion to put an end to this madness, kindly share in the comments section…Please.
Do have a great weekend! Where the bottles at?!