Probably the best advertising memo ever written
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(Via Shaheed @ The Creative Floor.)
I’ll just add that when I arrived at AMV in 1998 it was still one team one brief (in contrast to my previous agency, Y&R, where it was as David describes above). I was amazed and delighted for all those reasons.
It worked very well until it changed.
Let’s face it, he was kind of a saint. And a Roman Catholic. Just sayin’.
He could be a Zoroastrian Satanist and I’d still love him.
Shame those days are gone.
Just goes to show that agencies which are lead by creatives are the best ones. Period.
It makes me want to cry.
I vaguely recall that kind of creative conviction. But I haven’t seen it in action for more than a decade.
Nowadays it seems if you take pride in your work and are prepared to fight for it, no matter how good the work is, and no matter how stellar your track record, you’re just an obstruction in Mammon’s cogs.
Now I’ve just gone and made myself cry.
Superb stuff. Absolutely spot-on.
This is brilliant. However, there is something to be said in teams competing with one another. This can often lead to teams pushing themselves to beat the other team therefore working harder and getting to better answers. Its a fine line I guess.
I wish this generation of CDs had creative principles.
Or, to use a hideous football appropriation, a ‘philosophy’.
There are CDs in this generation who still uphold these creative principles.
They just get fired by the bean-counters who run the agency :)))))
I wonder if AMV still follows his lead
Tonimoroni, that way of working disappeared in AMV around 2000-2001.
And Onicker, ‘an obstruction in Mammon’s cogs’: brilliant.
I read this while eating my breakfast and thought about how the people who were at AMV when this was circulated, and who are still there now, felt about seeing this today. After all, they were all instrumental in ignoring it as they clambered and slipped their way to the top.
They still work this way at Karmarama. It definitely fosters a less competitive, paranoid, looking-over-your-should atmosphere amongst the creatives. Which is mainly a great thing.
The downside (from a more junior creative’s pov) is that it’s very hard to get on to the bigger more exciting briefs. Where as in an agency where multiple teams are given briefs, it’s usually easier to have a go at them.
The most noticeable thing about Karmarama is that the work is never that good. Hmm… maybe it’s not always down to the system, as AMV still manage to write decent stuff every now and then.
It’s probably worth mentioning that you can only do what David suggests if you have a uniformly brilliant creative department, allowing you to rely on any team to produce great work on any brief.
If that doesn’t happen you get an awful lot of shit and nowhere to hide.
‘there is something to be said in teams competing with one another.’
The brief is no longer to create great work. It’s to beat the other team. That’s a much easier brief.
And there is then an incentive to write something you think the client will buy. He’ll have two (or more) options: yours and the other teams’. When faced with something more original the client might then have a safe alternative, still ‘recommended’ by the agency, to choose instead.
Ergo, another one bites the dust. Unless of course all the presented work is equally creative (unlikely).
There is so much truth in this memo, it’s great. I wrote a thing last year about ad factories, and it turns out that Mr Abbott had foreseen this problem years ago:
Does anyone like their agency? Is anywhere any good? Because all I hear is bitching and I’m no exception.
Glad to contribute to a better day for you.
As a creative, one team-one-brief is best. Two teams max if necessary. After that it’s like buying a lottery ticket. Making something would be nice, but you’re not counting on it. Your heart’s certainly not as committed.
I’d be curious how creative directors feel about this philosophy. Gang bangs can serve a CD’s self- interest- the more ideas they get, the better for their own fortunes. How do they balance the interests of their creatives with their own?
The ex-Account Man in me (sorry) can tell you that going to present to the client with one idea in the bag does a lot to sharpen your thinking. Even if that idea had BBH written at the top of the page. Rather scary sometimes. But traveling home with an unsold idea was a very miserable journey…
Telling perhaps DA’s words should be on a ‘memo’ and not an email. When was the last time you printed an email and stuck it to the wall because it was so brilliant? Exactly.
‘The Brains Trust’ from Ed Catmull’s ‘Creativity Inc.’ might be a way to hedge the risks of putting a brief with a single team. More generally, a great book on fostering creativity in larger organisations (Pixar in his case).
In most agencies now, correct me if I am wrong, but unless you lick your Creative Directors poo hole, you will get nowhere near the juicy briefs that land in the department.