What do you do when you disagree?

I remember asking exactly that question to Dave Dye and Sean Doyle when we were all at AMV.

They told me that they think of a third idea that they both like.

When I heard this I wept inwardly at all the great individual DD and SD ideas that must have bitten the dust as a result of those disagreements.

I also thought that it was not what my ADs and I did under the circumstances.

Instead of thinking of a third (fucking hell; it was hard enough thinking up the first two) we’d generally agree to take both to the CD and let him or her choose, under a gentleman’s agreement that neither would try to push their own, sabotage the other’s, or say, ‘See? I told you, you dickhead!’ if their idea was chosen.

That’s an easier path to take when you’re a bit more junior than Dave and Sean were; they were judging their own work to go to client, not taking it to a higher CD. My partners and I were often still in the position of not being able to tell for sure which idea was best. But it also fed a kind of toxic atmosphere of separation, reminding us that we were two individuals rather than a team. I think that in an ideal world you’ll both present a united front, after all, there’s enough things to battle against to get your good ad made.

I’m not all suggesting you agree on everything – after all, if that happened all the time there’d be no need for both of you – but when you move forward you need to do it on an idea you’re both comfortable with, otherwise the AD has to AD something he or she doesn’t believe in, and the copywriter will be pulling out words like he or she is pulling teeth.

I recall many times where I was absolutely convinced I had a killer idea, only to have my partner give zero fucks. But then, if it didn’t impress him, how was it going to impress anyone else? Eventually I got to the stage where we both knew an idea was either really good, or had the potential to be so, and therefore worth exploring. Those days left my brain a lot calmer.

Anyway, that’s just my experience. How do you work out which idea to present without killing each other?