Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Look at the size of that deck

It's only 4 months into the year and I've already worked on assignments for 8 different agencies.

These agencies vary in size, billings, philosophy, and most importantly, proper ergonomic seating. Note to office managers: if it's not Herman Miller, it's crap.

What all these agencies have in common however is a whiteboard room. And an inexorable need to fill these white boards with arrows, shapes, diagrams and non-sensical sentence fragments that pose as insight.

I've never met anyone who walked into one of these rooms, navigated the board and walked out saying, "I know exactly what to do."


Of course, this monumental waste of energy is dwarfed by today's presentation deliverable lists. You'd swear these were being written by Tolstoy.

You see, in order to prove '©360degreeability' or '©agnosticmediasynergy' or '©digitalprowess', ad agencies now prepare mammoth presentations, with everything from TV campaigns to "here's what we'll be live tweeting on your behalf in August 2015."

In these tenuous economic times I certainly understand the need to over deliver, but I believe the pendulum has become unhinged and flown out of control.

It's as if an architect were asked to present three distinctive building designs. And in addition to a 3D model, an environmental impact report, and a substantive report on the footprint of the building, he or she was also asked to provide a recommendation for paint colors for the inside of the electrical room.

Best of all, after all the work has been ideated, created, tweaked, edited, re-edited, polished and whittled down to a 229-page deck, there's always the inevitable phone call from the client. The Executive Assistant will inform the agency that, "CEO has to hop on a plane so the meeting can only go 45 minutes, be prepared to zip through the work."

This doesn't happen at one place or another.
It happens everywhere.
It's happening right now as you're reading this blog.

It's a far cry from advertising's better days when we would go into a presentation with far, far less work.

Not because we couldn't come up with more ideas for a meeting.
But because we understood that clients couldn't process too many ideas in a meeting.


George Tannenbaum said...

Excellent as always.

Dion said...

i do not disagree mr siegel. but i would like to say a word in defense of the whiteboard. or... maybe a thousand words in form of a pic. i love ours. putting all the stuff up on a wall. learned its value while at radical. anyway, here's the pic. http://persuasionism.com/about/contact/
the whiteboards are those undulating shapes on the left.

Anonymous said...

So true. And the "More is better" trend has impacted the still photo side of the business too. It used to be that only commercial directors were expected to do a "treatment" as part of the bidding process. Now, we're often asked to - which probably ends up in the part of the deck that gets dropped because of the lack of presentation time.