In Wednesday's post, I talked about a simple, sensible way to present creative work more successfully. Today, why this is a virtual impossibility in most agencies and with most clients.
At every client organization there is one person who is the real decision maker. In some companies it's the cmo. In some companies it's the ceo. In some companies it's the brand manager. Their title is irrelevant. The real decision maker is the person who can say "yes, go do it" without having to show it to anyone else.
At every agency, there is one person who is the real creative leader on the account. On some accounts it's the exec creative director. On some accounts it's the art director. On some accounts it's the president of the agency. Their title is irrelevant. The real creative leader is the person the real decision maker looks to for guidance.
The best creative work happens when the real decision maker and the real creative leader have a good relationship and work closely together (see Let's Do It On The Floor.)
The worst creative work is always the result of layers of people supervising layers of people.
Working in a marketing department is a tough job. The hours are grueling. The work is tedious. The finance, operations, and sales people think you're a bozo. You're always having to justify your budget.
But there is a little fun. You get to attend creative presentations.
Working in an account services or creative department at an agency is a tough job. The work is frustrating. The client always has you on the defensive.
But there is some fun. You get to attend creative presentations.
Because marketing departments and agencies are difficult and frustrating places to work, and because agencies and clients want to keep their people happy, these people have been given an entitlement -- they can come to creative presentations.
Packing the room with client and agency people just makes the process tougher. But it's essentially impossible for an agency manager to tell an account director or a creative director, "I don't want you in the presentation." It's impossible for a cmo to say to a brand manager, "You really don't need to be there."
Egos simply can't tolerate this.
If you are an agency that wants to do good work on an account, someone in your creative department has to develop a good working relationship with the real decision maker on that account.
If you are a client that wants good creative work, you've got to undo the entitlements, and let the real decision maker at your company work directly with the real creative leader on your account.
After 100 years in the agency business, I still have no idea how to create great ads. It’s a code I haven’t cracked. But I do know how to sell them. Get your best creative person together with the real decision maker, and get everyone else out of the fucking way.