Thursday, March 7, 2013

Make My Day

Years ago, this photo was used for a cover of National Lampoon. The accompanying headline was, "Buy this magazine or we'll shoot this dog."

When National Lampoon ran this edition they had no intention of actually pulling the trigger. Even in those pre-PETA days, that would have been unacceptable.

The same cannot be said for today's ad agencies. Where the urgent need for fresh creative ideas is often accompanied by the implicit threat of, "...and if you don't come up with the campaign by 5 o o'clock we'll fire your ass and find someone who can."

This is a prevailing sentiment I am finding at more and more agencies.

I'm handed a brief at 9 o'clock in the morning and asked to show work at the end of the day. This used to be qualified with, "they don't have to be well-thought out ideas, or anything, we just want to see where you're roughly at when the sun goes down."

But the goalpost has been moved.

Now, it's "we need the work as soon as possible and it has to be polished, we have focus groups tonight at 8."

Don't go jumping the gun on me and assume I'm about to bitch and moan about this situation, because I am not. The truth is, I like the added pressure.

Mostly because before the pressure can be applied to the execution it needs to be applied to the strategy. This forces the account team, the planners and even the Creative Director to whittle down the messaging to one simple statement.

"Make it about technology."

"Make it about safety."

"Make it about convenience."

These kind of single-message marching orders don't come around too often. And like most creatives, I'd gladly sacrifice time for some precious clarity.

Of course, if I'm going to be asked to constantly hit the three point shot just before the buzzer, we might have to talk a little contract renegotiation.

"Oh no that? That was my old day rate."


Jeff said...

Make it about the new day rate.

Anonymous said...

Charger more - surely.
And yes, I'll stop calling you Shirley.
A) you're worth it $$$$.
B) Your'e one of the best out there!!!!!!
C) Be proud of what you've done,
D) The fine children you've raised and
F) the respect you deserve.
or F) them all...

Rich Siegel said...

Thanks Anonymous.

Conor said...

In Asia, this kind of deadline has been considered normal for at least the last 10 years. But the briefs haven't got any clearer or more succinct.