Wednesday, May 6, 2009

News Flash - Ad agency stands up to a client

Big News: Agency Tells Client Their Idea is Bad

Interesting story about this new Intel spot. Intel told its agency (Venables, Bell & Partners) it wanted to emphasize how different the audience's lives would be without Intel. An idea that, in short, sucked swampwater as far as the agency was concerned. I mean, it had been done and done and done to death. They assembled about 20 commercials with the "present" theme. Then they recommended that instead, Intel should get into the future.

The resulting spot stars one of the developers of USB 1.0. And I do mean "stars." Take a look and think about how many times we (I mean "I," of course) bow to a client's wrong-headed strategy opinion, rather than earn our keep by insisting on doing an effective job.

As a freelancer, I find it's a fine line between offering advice and being seen as a troublemaker. Maybe if my name were Riney or Della Femina... or if I worked at an agency that would stand up for good work. I have worked in such places at times, but creative-driven agencies are scarce as lizards' loofahs. If you work in a good creative shop, or if you have clients who realize you might know something they don't, and that's why they hired you, count your lucky leprechauns.

Here's a quote from Venables' entry on Agency Compile that summarizes their approach:
We don’t hawk and pitch and pummel the consumer with selling points. We use strategic planning to uncover what actually motivates them. What the traction point is. Frankly, what they’ll allow you to use to open the door to their hearts and wallets. The result is strategic thinking that’s based on enticing, rather than browbeating. It’s the carrot versus the stick. Most importantly, it gets better.
Good stuff!

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