two sides of the same coin

Picture the scene: a young creative team joins an advertising agency.

In the early days its hopes are high. They are on the CD’s radar for decent briefs and the honeymoon period is in full swing. The account teams want to work with this breath of fresh air and the briefings are all back slaps and banter.

But then things start to change. The CD likes the early work but for one reason or another it hasn’t made it past the client. The team’s creativity is praised but the whispers have started, the raised eyebrows that suggest they might be a bit too out-there for their own good. They know how to have an idea that might win a Titanium Lion, but can they make a silk ad out of a sow’s brief?

Gradually, they start to fall off the CD’s radar. He has more important things on his mind, and besides, he can’t keep propping them up forever. The other teams are grumbling about how they don’t get the juicy briefs, so to quell the discontent the CD passes over the newbies to throw the senior guys a bone.

But the groovy youngsters have to do something, so it’s their turn for the more prosaic tasks: the 30″ retail radio. Can they crack that? Is that what they were hired to do? But then, if you’re good you should be able to spin gold from anything, shouldn’t you?

So a year goes by and the team have made a few radio and press ads that no one’s noticed (they haven’t even told their mums) and they’re starting to question their move. The CD is definitely not paying them much attention these days. He might chance them on a good brief once in a while, but only after someone else has had a crack at it first. What reputation they had has been forgotten and they are now just another team. Is it the bad briefs making bad work or should the blame be laid at the door of the creatives?

But hang on… what’s this? They’ve just been given the brief from Winston’s Dog Food and against all the odds they’ve knocked it out of the park. Campaign makes it pick of the week, some washed-up old CD tickles its balls in Private View and it starts to look like a shoe-in for all the top awards.

Then the offers start coming in.

At last, thinks the team. Our nightmare is over. We can get the fuck out of here and try our luck somewhere that appreciates our talents. Let’s weigh up the offers and start again with an office stuffed with Lions and Pencils.

Meanwhile, in the CD’s office the thoughts are somewhat different: At last, thinks the CD, those two wasters have finally paid off the faith I had in them. I got them in here and gave them all the good briefs but they just coasted as if the world owed them a living. Now that they’ve come good we can finally get a good run going on some other stuff.

Then the team leaves and the extent of their relief is matched perfectly by the fury of the CD.

Same situation, two entirely different perspectives, neither right nor wrong.

If any of that sounds familiar, it might be like the man says: ‘to a worm stuck in horseradish, everything looks like horseradish.’