October 02, 2008

How To Sell Great Creative: The Big Show

You’ve been working on a new campaign for six weeks. Tomorrow’s the day you present to the client.

The account director has booked the main conference room. Pastries have been ordered. The agenda has been Xeroxed.

Coming from the client organization are the CMO and/or marketing director, the advertising manager, the brand manager and assistant brand manager, and maybe someone from upper management.

From the agency, the following people will be there: the account director, the account supervisor, the account executive, the exec creative director and/or creative director, the copywriter, art director, planning director and/or planner, media director, and maybe someone from upper management.

Already, you have no fucking chance. None. You're dead meat. The Grapes Of Wrath couldn't survive this meeting. Hamlet couldn't survive it.

Large group presentations are the death of good advertising. Here’s why:
  • When you gather so many people together, the importance of the meeting becomes exaggerated.
  • When a meeting takes on exaggerated importance, participants become anxious.
  • Clients can smell agency anxiety a mile away. It's contagious and it causes fear. Fear is the enemy of an open mind.
  • The meeting becomes a medium for the creation of subtle power relationships and a showcase for lower level people to demonstrate their analytic abilities (which is another way of saying 'finding flaws.')
  • Every idea has weak points. Gone With The Wind has weak points. The Great Gatsby has weak points. People will be scrambling to show off by being the first to identify the weak points.
  • Internal rivalries will be played out through the language of criticism.
  • All comments will be equivocal until the highest ranking person speaks.
The biggest killer of good ideas is not research or clients or budgets. It's The Big Show.

In order to sell great work, you must do everything in your power to avoid The Big Show. You must avoid the conference room. You must avoid pastries and agendas.

How do you do that? We'll talk about it next week in "How To Sell Great Creative: Let's Do It On The Floor"

Big Thanks...
To the people at Agency Spy for the nice words about yesterday's post.

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