I've struggled with concept of planning and planners for some time now. (To boil my issue down to a single line: I don't have a fucking clue what they're for.)
Well, I've looked into it. I sat today with Saul, Esme and Giles, my agency's planners. (The planning director, some Yank called Cyrus Anacronista, was away at a 4-day 'Inspiromation Lab'.)
So, I came right out and said, 'Look, people. Right now, you are like my nipples. They look like they should be there, and I don't really mind them, but I have literally no clue what the fuck they do.' They laughed a little.
I continued. 'Of course, the difference between you and my nipples is that my nipolas don't cost me a bollock-wrangling amount of money.'
Slightly less laughter.
'So maybe you could explain why I, Dave Knockles, should pay big wodges of spendola for your services when, as far as I can see, you are less use than a McSalad.'
Esme spoke first. 'Well, Dave, planning is all about building a platform for the creatives to work from. We deal in information - any information - that surrounds the client's market, consumers and the world in general. Anything that can be used to form an insightful advertising strategy, that's what we deal with.'
Giles tried next. 'We make sure that the consumer is at the forefront of the creative's mind when he or she is creating the ads - and we help them get a clear picture of the consumer through understanding information, research, data.'
Saul went last. 'We write the briefs.'
'Ah! Got you!' I said. And I countered with a supposition I've long held.
'Briefs,' I posited, 'Are a complete cunting waste of time. I don't even bother with them - and you've seen the Cleanavia campaign I've come up with, right?'
They nodded slowly. (Still in awe, then! Bless those kids.) I went on.
'Well, that's genius, right? And at no point was a brief involved - nor any information, research, thought or insight. That entire idea came to me literally in nano-seconds. I barely fucking noticed it happen. It just appeared in my head when I was in Delilaz getting a Double Ingratiation. What have you got to say about that?'
And there they sat, silently, in their variously ill-conceived trousers (one pair of which, Saul's I think, looked for all the world like the kind a fucking homeless potwasher would wear on his day off while just bumming around his cardboard box taking crystal meth and shooting own-label vodka into his eyeballs).
What could they say to the truth? Nothing. They looked sheepishly at the floor, beaten.
They shouldn't feel so bad. Many an agency boy has tested Dave Knockles and been defeated. And many more will go the same way. This is the gift, and the burden, of genius.
So. Planners. If I'm brutally honest, I still have no idea what they do. But I do know that they write briefs.
Here, then, is my sketch of planners: people writing briefs in strange trousers.
Naturally, I've asked their MD to wipe their hours the fuck off my account, right fucking yesterday.
Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!