As told to Marcus Honesta.
In “Part Four” of my sit down with one of the Advertising Agencies more famous, retired Creative Directors I asked him to share some of the more unusual, sometimes hilarious memories of life in this “Mad Men’s World”. What ensued was a collection of “Gems” of wisdom that are just as relevant then as they are today. I share them with you; our readers may especially enjoy these jaunts down memory lane. He told me:
I was creative director at an agency that to everyone’s delight had a very well known lingerie brand on its list of clients.
At the time one of the jobs progressing through the system was a small, gatefold brochure featuring models wearing their latest line of bras.
The art director showed enormous enthusiasm for the task but somehow the end result was not as good as I was expecting.
I approached to Group Account Director and expressed my concerns.
“Nonsense” he said. “The client loves it.”
“Well I’m not approving it,” I said.
We called in the MD for mediation.
The Group Account Director was midway through explaining how much the client loved the job when the phone rang.
It was the client calling to say how disappointed he was with the job.
In advertising the absurd is common place, but just sometimes if you recognise an opportunity you can make it work for you; as I did with the same Group Account Director a short while latter. I told him “you should buy me lunch”!
It’s appalling really that the biggest problem most agencies face is how to get paid for what they do. (Create fabulous pieces of extraordinarily creative communications designed specifically to sell clients products and/or services.)
You would have thought by now they would have figured it out, but no not really. I was talking with a client just the other day he was bemoaning the fact that he kept going to meetings at his agency that were populated by large numbers of people he had never met. He knew why they were there. “To inflate the number of head hours allocated to his account”.
It was high summer. The day was hot and the air conditioning was working overtime (unlike my creative department). It was around 11.30am and I was already feeling a little peckish. I looked in my diary and to my horror discovered that there was nothing written in the space allocated for lunch.
I just happened to be passing the office of that rather senior Group Account Director and noticed he was at his desk. I stuck my nose in and after apologizing for interrupting suggested that he might like to feed me. He explained gesturing at his computer that he had far too much work to do and a lunch would have to wait for another time.
But I was hungry now.
“Ian” I said “If you don’t take me to lunch today I’m going to make all your accounts unprofitable. Bye buy bonus bye by.”
“You can’t do that” he said.
“I’ll personally work on nothing else but your accounts day and night for the next 6 weeks.”
“Where would you like to eat?” he said.