To say I’m starting to hate the current economic situation in our country, is a gross understatement! Even if you can pretend to ignore the almost daily price increases of everything from petrol to bloody cigarettes, how in heaven’s name do you ignore the adverse effects on the advertising industry? Or rather the adverse effect on the mind set of senior ad managers?

I mean, for us who work on the creative side of things, it’s all about pushing the envelope and trying to do something more daring than we did the day before. But how the hell are we supposed to do that when we have clients and management who insist on playing it safe?

Since when did playing it safe ever pay off? History has has been written and made by people who took risks. Risks that were not made with a safety net in hand. The greatest successes in history have been made by flying in the face of conventional wisdom. When if ever, is the local advertising industry going to accept this and actually put it into practice?

Some great name in advertising once said “The day billings become more important than creativity is the day I take my name off the board”. His name is still on the board of one of the most creative and successful agencies in the world. How often have we been to workshop after workshop and had the catch phrases “Creativity pays”, “It’s all about the work”, “Never settle for yes, when yes wow exists”, drilled into us ad nauseum? Yet when it comes down to actually walking the walk, it’s a daily fight to get the cutting edge stuff even looked at in-house.

Case in point, I’m working on a certain brand that is largely handled by a different agency, but we have been given the chance of getting our foot in the door with some small time pieces of work. The management’s point of view is that we should basically do something very similar to what the other agency is doing (of course this was worded in a much more convoluted and different phrasing). The justification given is that this is just a small job and therefore the client is not going to be looking for idea based work. To me, this makes absolutely no sense at all! Why would they come to us for something that they can get from the other agency in the first place? What sort of fucking sense does that make for them? What makes it worse is that I personally believe this client is not the run-of-the-mill dumb client who you can faff with. They aren’t going to buy something from us just because the advertising “gods” of the agency tell them to. Rather, it’s our duty as a self-respecting agency to give them the choice of whether they just want the same old shit on a different platter or something totally new and maybe even a little risky.

So what do I do with this situation? Well, I have told my team to firstly get the same old shit on a different platter over and done with. After that we’re going to sit down and work the idea based stuff that we think the client should be doing. Come Monday, I’m going to have a fight on my hands to take this stuff to the client, but fuck it, if they wanna fight, so be it! I accept that I may be totally wrong about this client and will have to eat humble pie after the meeting, but its worth the risk. What the hell, didn’t I say earlier in this post that nobody ever got ahead by playing it safe?

Outta here!!!


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