Following is a list of things I seen happen.
When you’re done reading you may be tempted to reconsider whether learning to make ads is what you want to spend the next two years doing.
The next post gets to a positive destination.
But now, in the spirit of Mr. Letterman’s Top Ten Lists,
Tell-Tale Signs of What Clients Think of
Ads, Advertising, Ad Agencies:
Agencies show up on time to meetings to show ads even after flying across the country to do so.
Clients are late, in their own building.
Account people get 5 phone calls from the client about dinner reservations, airport transportation and ballgame tickets for every 1 pertaining to an ad.
The presentation of an ad to a client begins with the agency explaining what the ad they’re showing was created to do. This is followed by each person from the client in turn explaining in words no one at the agency has heard before a fully different description of what the job of the ad was meant to be.
When an ad is presented, the head client pushes it along the table to the next client without reading it. After it circles the table the last person pushes it into the middle of the table where it sits for the rest of the meeting like a spurned treaty.
If a client does look at the ad he holds it at arms length with both hands, grimacing as if it were an enlargement of a membership card in the Communist Party of America with his name on it.
If an ad makes its way past 4 layers of approval to a meeting with a client who can say yes or no, that client will begin the meeting by saying, Well, I don’t know anything about this advertising business, but….
More time in the meeting is spent discussing the copy than the headline.
This is followed by even more time spent on a monologue by the client asserting no one reads copy.
The bulk of the meeting is spent making certain which version of the logo will be used, for which design the company spent a sum of money greater than the yearly fee paid the agency.
The discussion of where the ad runs, how often, and how many millions of dollars will be spent takes 2 & ½ minutes and is later changed in a 2-minute cellphone call from a bar.
The decision to run one ad rather than another is made by 15 people who don’t work for the client or the agency but were found wandering about in a shopping mall one afternoon and who, when approached by people with clipboards did not possess even enough sense to walk the other way but instead were persuaded in less than a minute to follow an unknown person down a hallway into a dark room after being promised a bowl of M&M’s and maybe enough money to buy a tank of gas. (This is called a focus group. Bad news–you’ll get a chance to see more than one before you’re dead)
They will not be aware they are making a decision, will not know which of their remarks made the decision & which not, but their unconsidered & unconnected sayings, pauses, burps & look-abouts will be collected into a voice more powerful than the weight of the agency’s argument or the common sense of anyone involved.
The most easily moved item of business in any client’s day, even the ad manager’s, is a meeting with the agency. It does not outrank an auto mechanic’s call, a takeout container of Chinese food, a discussion of baby clothes with an office intern, or…..
and the Number 1 tell-tale sign that what clients think of advertising is different from what agencies think–
The person from the agency presenting the ad is paid $300k a year.
The person from the client to whom the ad is being presented makes $55K.
Next: If Clients Don’t Want Ads, What Do They Want?