Though “creative director” has been the title I’ve held for the most years of my career, I owe a good deal of my success to having started out as an assistant account executive.
BBDO Direct. 385 Madison Avenue.
Pepto Bismol was the agency beverage of choice. There were as many ulcers as vice presidents. But I didn’t know enough to be scared. That was piece of luck number one.
Why aren’t agencies helping their people to grow and develop?
At DiGo, we’ve been learning a lot lately by interviewing account people by the dozens. While we’ve met some spectacular people, I’m sorry to say that most of these interviews have been just shocking. Too many people come in with limiting attitudes about themselves and their possibilities. Experienced account managers typically don’t even have an understanding the agency business. They don’t get what agencies are here to do. They don’t understand the role we play in our client’s lives and businesses. They view themselves as narrow specialists. They are people in boxes, decades too early.
Some folks turn off at the phrase “personal growth” because it sounds like a lot of work. “Hey, I’m OK just as I am!”
But growth is as natural as breathing. It’s what we’re meant to do. Only sometimes we block what’s natural for us, and that takes a lot more work and energy.
Like staying in a job for “security” when we know we’re stultified. Like choosing the “safe” campaign rather than the right one. Like picking colleagues or partners who won’t challenge you.
No doubt, this makes me an eccentric marketer and an odder ad guy, and casts extreme suspicion on my membership in the creative community.
Marketers are supposed to want to run their own empires – otherwise why spend all that money on a Harvard MBA and all that energy climbing the corporate ladder? Creative directors think the ideal client listens to their presentations, and then applauds. Ad agencies think their job is to please the target audience no matter what the client might think.
When personal greed comes in, client interests are soon forgotten.
An agency focused on cashing out is not an agency focused on client success.
Don inadvertently torpedoes the IPO when he resigns a client. This particular client happens to be a snake and should never have been allowed to slither into the agency in the first place. This is a rare righteous moment for Don.
So, now the agency’s hopes turn to winning a much bigger client. But why?
In rapid succession, McDonalds, American Express Open and J.C. Penney have all joined the mea culpa trend.
Here’s the story, and a few thoughts on where, when, how and how not to apologize.
J.C. Penney just launched this video on Facebook, under the theme JCP Listens.
It was a good idea to start the conversation, a good idea to listen, and a very, very bad idea to go beyond the first couple of lines of this treacly video.
Well, not exactly. Episode 4 is all about infidelity and the various ways the characters prostitute themselves or remain true. Mostly, they cheat.
Don is having an affair with his wife’s friend who also happens to be the wife of his only male friend. Nice guy.
But where he pays for his infidelity is back at the agency.
Don’s Heinz client brings in the prestigious ketchup brand leader to meet the agency, but then tells the Sterling Cooper Draper Price folks that under no circumstances are they to pitch or work for the peacock, who it turns out is his arch rival.
Now, hold on. Yes, clients sometimes have unreasonable or at least eccentric reasons for considering certain agency commitments to be “conflicts.” In this case, working for another division of the same company is off limits.
We often deliver incremental revenue in the first 30 days. And we don’t sacrifice future success to do it either.
We call it Two-Track Planning.
You’ll find this works in most situations: