Pleasing is a disservice

I live in America. The home of bald Eagles, Laverne & Shirley, and spending over a year on a single marketing brief.

“It’s because the market is so much bigger” you’ll hear.

The thing is the I have no qualms spending a year on something as long as it’s really, really good.

Like a relationship.

But. And this is a big but, the rounds and rounds of revisions, the death by a thousand-million-billion cuts is usually self-inflicted by the agency.

Because there is a rule no matter how wrong or conflicting the client’s feedback is, no matter how junior the client is… and that rule is:

The customer (client) is always right.

Follow their feedback verbatim.

And boy, what a mess it makes.

Because by saying yes to every set of changes you turn a painting slowly but surely into a big brown swirl over a series of months.

Because when you only ever react by pleasing you no longer have a point of view of your own.

Your sole product (creating ads) becomes secondary to being in hospitality.

Which for survival, most agencies have become.

It is a wide-held point of view that a push back will count against the agency come the next AOR review.

But agencies don’t stop to think about this point:

That the hodge-podge of ads that have little meaning or structure will be presented as an argument against the agency in the next review as well.

I truly believe there’s a responsibility in any market (America to Antigua) to stand up and logically push back on points that destroy the brand you are trying to build for the client.

But, for that — you as creative need face time with clients.

Face time to explain, push, elucidate, and educate why we shouldn’t put a pink talking cat into the campaign.

So, forget the pleasing, it’ll only get you to round 147 of a script.

(I’ve been there and got the 2019/2020 tour T-Shirt)

Instead, as agencies grow more nimble to survive the present climate I’d argue that more client facetime by creatives is essential to establish points of view and create a product that will benefit everyone in the long term.

Pleasing is a disservice.

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