Clients: Here’s The Secret To Really Screwing Creatives


Here it comes.

Buy good ads.

And if you really want to screw us, keep buying good ads.

Here’s how it works: when creatives get a brief they almost always address it in the most optimistic way possible. Even if it’s for the worst client ever, they will attempt to make the best ad they can. It may not take long before the thousand cuts of the process and the client’s track record beats that optimism down, but it will usually be there at the start.

If the ad looks like it’s going down the toilet, you will then get a slacker, less interested creative. Sure, they will still do their job to a decent standard (no one deliberately tries to make a bad ad; bad ads take as long to make as good ones, so trying to make it bad on purpose only creates greater misery all round) but nothing more. They will stop at the ‘OK’ endline, the third idea for a layout, the fifth pass on the script. They will read more magazines during the sound session, they will not push the V/O or the editor and they will not bother to pick up minor slips in the retouching. They will help the ad become twenty percent better instead of fifty.

However, if the ad look like it’s going to be a good one, you will get dedication that your fee could not hope to cover. You will get weekends and evenings that do not appear on the timesheet; you will get bat-like hearing at the sound session and hawk-like vision at the grade; you will get a pair of people and an entire support staff of post production helpers who will try dozens of different routes until they find the very best one; they will let your problems eat away at them while they are eating away at dinner; they will miss children’s football games to attend pre-lights; they will call the director ten times a day, and he will call them back; they will pore through the reference, listen through the pre-prod and work through the night.

In short you will have many times more than that which you have paid for, and it will translate to a better ad for you.

Get a reputation for this and the good work will start earlier. ‘Ah, a brief for Honda/Levis/VW,’ they will say. ‘Better burn the midnight oil on this one.’

And, amazingly, all this extra work will make them happier, you happier and your boss happier.

Go on: screw us.

We love it.