Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Dealing with creatives. A working example.

My post yesterday was aimed at helping less experienced and massively gifted marketing professionals than I learn the basics about creatives.

Following a meeting with my agency today, I have some real-life examples of how to deal with these over-sensitive, self-obsessed fucking cuntwaffles without causing them undue offence - and ensuring that you get the outcome you want, ie, your ideas in the fucking ads. That, we can all surely agree, is best for everyone.

Today was actually a hugely important meeting for the company. Top of the agenda was our marketing strategy for the next 5 years - a plan we've worked very, very hard to get right and which we are committed to sticking rigidly to for at least the next...oooh...8 months? (Well, call it 6 - you never know when you'll fancy a change, do you?)

So it was that I launched myself into my agency's lobby at 10am on the nose, bursting with anticipation for our 8am breakfast meeting.

'Have you ever been the judge at a fruit and vegetable show?' I breathed to the receptionist. As ever, she played it coy / offended. 'Because every time I see you I want to polish my plums.'

With a coquettish glance over my shoulder I was away up the stairs and into my meeting. First job: cheer everyone the fuck up.

'Don't stand up!' I barked, striding into the usual roomful of miserable fuckers and cold bacon rolls. 'Show me some work, and make it rock-fucking-solid!'

The account director gave me some guff about having no brief, or warning, or budget, or whatever, so I said, 'Let's fucking brainstorm it - right here, right now! Fetch me a pad, a pen and a person to use them for me. I don't write - I just think. Let's GO!'

(It has to be said, I really know how to light up a room.)

Lots of ideas got thrown about, then thrown out (by me, mainly) and on several occasions I had to manage potentially tricky situations.

Situation 1
One creative, a designer, tried suggesting a headline. I sprang into action. 'Zip it, Bumfluff,' I said, firmly. 'Stick to typefaces and marijuana.'

Outcome: one designer saved from being embarrassingly out of his depth. (I think he learned his lesson - didn't hear a peep out of him after that. He'll go far.)

Situation 2
A copywriter, after several minutes of sullen introversion, tossed a pad onto the table. On it was written a single headline. On seeing it, his colleagues veritably gasped in admiration.

Not me! A few swipes of my favourite red pen and the headline was rewritten, improved and, crucially, had the product name in it. (Also, I'd taken out the potentially confusing play on words he'd based the whole thing on. No need for that load of clack-gravy.)

He stood up, huffed 'We have human rights, you know!' and then walked out.

Quick as a flash I turned to his colleagues and said, 'Anyone know any writers? Because that cunt won't work again.'

Outcome: one copywriter spared from a career he wasn't meant for, and another job created when the economy needs them most.

Situation 3
An art director sketched out a TV concept he'd had bouncing around his nogging for a while, based on a scene from Fellini's La Dolce Vita as seen through the eyes of a character in The Matrix - but The Matrix imagined by Fellini himself! It was very interesting, very challenging.

It fell to me, then, to tell him to take out some / most of the elements he'd put in (the pictures, mainly) and replace them with at least one but ideally two birds with above-average bristolas. From there, it was easy to tweak / rewrite his script and, bingo bango, we had ourselves a fucking ad.

Outcome: one art director who could feel well and truly included in the creative process. He looked so pleased, actually, that he couldn't register it! His face went completely blank. A total result for me, because I love to develop people.

So, there are three ways to handle creatives. There are many more. But perhaps it would be best if you found them yourselves, fellow marketing professionals, as I had to.

Of course, you won't find them as fast as I did.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!


  1. Dear Knockles

    I only recently discovered your blog, and after 15 years of muffing about in agencies I've been inspired. I'm jacking it in and going client-side as of next week, and shall be using you as my bible in how to deal with agencies. I thank you, and I'm sure the agency will too. Keep up the good work, I'm relying on you now.

  2. Stick with me, juhinio, and you'll be a Marketing Director within 20-25 years. Seriously.

    It gives me a fundamental sense of wellbeing in my core central being deep down to know I've helped you see the light.


    P.-S. You should stop cocaine and fuck your wife a bit more. :)