Top Tags

Tag Company Dynamics


Forget The Recognition, There’s Another Reason Why Creatives Are Obsessed With Winning Awards

Why is it that Art Directors and Copywriters have a seemingly insatiable desire to win awards?  Is it our pitiful need for praise, a pat on the back, and an acknowledgement of a job well done? Yes. Is it our desperate desire to be recognized as a somebody in a nobody industry? Yep. Is it our shallow hope that winning an award will get us laid after the post-show gala? You betcha. However, there is an equally powerful, though seldom discussed, incentive behind our hankering for One Show pencils, Cannes Lions and Black D&AD pencils.

It’s called money.

That’s right, most of us are also motivated by coin. So a big part of all that tantrum throwing when our ads don’t get approved is due to money. You see, every time one of our great ideas doesn’t sell, the opportunity cost to our future income is staggering. We’re talking about tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars of potential income loss. How’s that? When you’re an award-winning creative you get offered a lot of money by agencies that want award-winning work. At award shows headhunters, agency CEO’s and ad groupies are all over you like green on grass. You’re wined and dined and treated like a rock star. Next thing you know, you’re jetting around the world in first class, shooting spots in exotic locations, dating Czech supermodels and making more money than you ever dreamed possible. Pretty heady stuff for a geeky English major from Nowheresville, NC.

So there. Now you know the real reason why creatives pitch a fit when our ads die untimely deaths in presentations and focus groups. Everything is riding on those ads. (Including the prospects of riding in better sports cars or having Czech supermodels riding on us.)

Of course, all this is bad news for clients trying to build a brand. It’s hard (if not impossible) to maintain a consistent look and tone with your campaign when your creative teams keep quitting to work for someone else.

Great Creative Talent Is Easy To Find But Hard To Keep

Isn’t it ironic that in an industry that gets paid for building brand loyalty there is no brand loyalty between creatives and agencies? The fact is, the average creative only works for an agency a year-and-a-half. It’s no coincidence that’s about how long it takes for a good creative to add some new award-winning stuff to his book, get a better offer and jump ship. By hopping from agency to agency, a creative with a good reel and print book containing two or three award-winning campaigns can almost double his salary with every move. And if they win some major awards, (like Best of Show at Cannes) they can literally triple their salaries in no time.

On the other hand, if a creative hasn’t produced any award-winning work in two years at an agency, he’s going to jump ship to an agency where he has a better shot at winning something  – if he can. If a creative is still at the same agency longer than two or three years, chances are:

He’s cashed in his chips and the agency is paying him more money than God.
He can’t get a job anywhere else.
He owns all or part of the agency.
His wife makes more than he does and doesn’t want to move.

To make matters worse, most agencies could care a less.  There are plenty of other creatives out there with bigger, better, more award-winning portfolios than your current staff.  This is just more bad news for clients who want a consistent look and feel to their brand. The new creative teams are going to fight like hell to change the campaign and make it their own.

Not to mention, it takes a lot of time for copywriters to master the tonality of an already established campaign – if in fact, they ever do.  I’ll let you in on a nasty little agency secret. Agencies rarely promote their own creatives. If there’s an opening for a Creative Director, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, they’ll hire someone from outside the agency. Even if there’s a senior art director or copywriter working for the agency that’s more qualified to fill the position.

The reason behind this is pretty simple. It’s called ego. Creatives work in teams consisting of an art director and a copywriter. Teams of art directors and copywriters usually work under a team of creative directors. There is absolutely no way a Creative Director who’s an art director is going to degrade himself by promoting a senior copywriter that used to work for him to be his new partner.  Ain’t gonna happen. (Unless of course, he’s worked with this writer out of necessity and they win some big awards together.) Usually the only time a senior creative gets promoted to creative director is when the current creative director:

gets fired
quits to make more money at another agency

So if you’re an art director or copywriter waiting to get promoted to creative director by your shop – you’re probably wasting your time.

So how do agencies choose a new creative director?

You guessed it.  They hound the award shows looking for the new creative superstar who will put the agency on the award show map.  When you win an award, headhunters are all over you like green on grass. They pore over award annuals. And usually, the creative with the most Lions and Pencils  goes to the highest bidder. Unless, the creative gets an offer from a really hot shop where they think they can produce more award winning work and eventually make more money when they sell out to a big, giant corporate conglomerate and are never heard from again. The problem with this model is there’s no correlation with hiring an expensive, award-winning creative and new business wins, effectiveness of agency work and agency morale. In fact, it’s been my experience just the opposite occurs. (But that’s another topic for another day.)

So what’s to be done about it?

The most direct solution (and least likely to ever happen) is to break the stranglehold award shows have as the end-all, be-all arbiters of copywriters and art director’s self-worth and actual worth. Let’s face it; your advertising peers will not acknowledge you as an advertising creative genius unless you’ve won at least one Cannes Lion, a One Show Pencil and a D&AD Pencil.  On the other hand, your parents and friends outside the industry won’t consider you a creative genius until you’ve won a Clio. Now what’s crazy about all this, and excuse me for stating the obvious, none of these shows have anything to do with the right and true measure of great advertising – results.  OK, what about the Effies, you ask? While the idea behind the Effies is spot on – honoring the world’s most “effective” campaigns – the results submitted are dubious at best. (Having won a few, I know.) The Effies have been and probably always will be the Account Executives’ award show.

Here’s what’s worked for us.

As Creative Director of The Republik, I personally receive about 50 job inquiries a month from some of the most talented writers and art directors in the biz. Probably because several creative blogs have ranked us as one of the top ten creative agencies out there. Most of our art directors, writers and graphic designers have been with us for much, much longer than the agency norm and I have no doubt they will be here for years to come.

Yet, The Republik is a small agency in a small market and we don’t even enter most award shows. So how do we keep our art directors and copywriters happy when we really don’t enter award shows? And how in the world is it possible to be recognized as one of the industry’s hottest creative shops when we’re not really winning any awards?

Easy. We replace the lure of advertising awards with more satisfying alternatives. Creating work that exceeds our clients’ expectations is highly valued here. In fact, The Republik’s compensation model allows us to generously bonus art directors, writers, designers (and AE’s) who create effective work. As an employee-owned agency, everyone who works here (after proving him or herself) has an opportunity to become a Republik partner. We turn our staff into advertising superstars by making sure their work is written about and featured in every on and offline medium possible. In the last five years, The Republik’s work has been featured over 5,000 times by news outlets as diverse as The New York Times, Country Music Television, Boating Magazine, Inside Edition, Creativity, Time Magazine  and CA to name a handful.

The results?

Our creatives not only feel like they’re being paid well, they can actually make more by doing more effective work.
Everyone loves the instant gratification of seeing his or her work discussed in print. (Our clients like it too – but that’s another story.) There are few fights between AE’s and creatives over the work – the goal is no longer about winning awards but to create results.

Ironically, the work is creatively better. (We not only believe, but also know, there is a direct correlation between great artistic work and positive results. (For more on this, see my blog on Pull vs. Push Advertising.)
The Republik has some of the lowest creative and account turnover rates in the biz.

I could go on, but I have more rewarding work to do. Let’s face it, this blog isn’t going to win me any awards or more importantly, earn me more money. Oh, and for the record, my wife is Czech.

by David Smith The Republik

Photo Credit: Unknown – Licensed CC-BY-NC-SA


For a business constructed on new ideas, advertising remains uncomfortably stuck with its old ideas of how to construct a business. Ad agencies, whether private or publicly owned, are almost all built on a 19th Century corporate formula. Did everyone miss what happened after 1999?

What employees want.

1999 was the advertising industry’s last “good” year, boasting bonuses and flush salaries. By 2000, the news was of layoffs. One figure showed 43% of New York City’s marketing industry—mailroom to VPs—were on the street. No ad job was secure. It was the year that, for the advertising employee, corporate paternalism died.

After 2000, no agency owner could ever again expect to find people who believed their own best interests were also their employers’ first, or even second or third. In an industry whose inventory, famously, “goes down the elevator every night,” the consequences are, or should be, far-reaching. But the overwhelming majority of ad agencies continue to run on the assumption employees will continue to risk their livelihoods for a fixed salary, while they watch the owners, divide the rest.

That’s no longer true in the wider economy. According to the U.S. census, only one in three California workers held a “traditional” job. 32 million U.S. workers were either soloists, temps or micropreneurs, making them the largest segment of the working population, larger than all public sector employees combined. And perhaps most telling, 70% of all U.S. businesses had no employees.

Clearly, people desire more of a stake in the business they work for than they trust the traditional corporate employer to provide. That’s probably been true for as long as there has been business.

Thanks to globalization, an individual can now produce in a few years what once took a large corporation, decades. In 1990, it took a manufacturing plant to be a fashion industry mogul. In 2008, it took a phone call to China. Andy Spade (husband of Kate) went from being a copywriter to a fashion tycoon in 5 years. And he never built a factory.

The barriers to forming an ad agency are even lower. And advertising peoplehave always been among the business world’s most creative, and most restless. As an advertising agency owner, the idea of employees who neither see their agency’s success as their own nor see any obstacle to opening up a new, competing shop down the street is scary.

What agencies want.

If for no other reason than self defense (actually, there are plenty of other reasons, but they tend to sound a bit touchy-feely to anyone not personally involved) a better corporate model for today’s advertising agency is employee ownership.

The employee-owned agency has access to a wider talent pool. If an ad agency lives or dies on its talent and creativity, what sense does it make to hire from only that dwindling group of people who don’t demand a share of the success they bring their clients?

The employee-owned agency fosters loyalty. Isn’t it preferable to offer workers a portion of the wealth they produce, and keep them, than to have the best and brightest of them go off and build their own company?

The employee-owned agency is more productive. Who will work harder, the employee whose efforts may or may not be rewarded based on what three or four finance subcommittees might or might not decide, or the employee who knows he or she will get a percentage of the agency’s quarterly profits?

(Incidentally, the question of effort ties directly to another topic, far beyond this blog’s scope – that of performance-based agency compensation. Briefly, traditional agency ownership and performance-based fees do not fit.The agency’s owners may fervently wish to see their clients succeed. But the creative director still wants to build his portfolio. For the employee-owned agency, performance-based compensation “works.”)

Lastly, the employee-owned agency is flexible in the event of a downturn.Where the traditional agency has no choice but to cut jobs, losing capabilities, the employee-owned agency maintains its staff. Yes, their paychecks suffer, but at least they are still working. And the agency can continue to fully serve its clients.

What employee-ownership is not.

Republik employees do not vote on what color to paint the walls. One of the original and most progressive employee-owned agencies was St. Luke’s in London. They were a partnership that dissolved, I think, because of the inertia of having to discuss every single decision.

Powerful leadership remains vital to agency success, and for us, the key to reconciling authoritarianism and democracy lay in the separation of short-and long-term goals. The Republik’s Executive Committee is elected, one person, one vote, by every agency employee. Once elected the day-to-day management is in the hands of the Executive Committee. (Our inspiration was the U.S. Constitution, with its checks and balances and the insulation from mobocracy provided by the Electoral College.)

And no, employee-ownership is not the answer for everyone. Specifically, employees who cannot risk a fluctuating paycheck. Not to mention stockholders and individuals who want to retain an outsize share of their agency’s upside potential.

The unforeseen trade-offs.

There are some surprises in store for the employee-owned agency. You willfind it is stressful for employees to know too much about their company’s financials. But know they must. Each quarter’s gains and losses are public knowledge. There are giant agency VPs who have less idea of what goes on in their companies than the lowest man on the totem pole here. Then again, some of those giant agency VPs like it that way.

You will find that the work can be less sexy. When employees start watching their client’s bottom line, they start thinking maybe a Web 2.0 database building program is more important than a new TV campaign. Personally, I miss doing big TV spots. They were fun.

You’ll wince when a strategist tells the client, “this part of your media budget is wasted. Save it.” Even though you know it’s the right thing to do.

On the plus side, you will be relieved of your police department duties. You will have a cop on every beat, ready to pounce on any employee pulling less than his fair share, or helping himself to a little bit more.

You’ll spend less time fine wining and dining your clients and more time eating burgers with your new boss, the receptionist.

And you will gain new and unimagined listening skills. Sometimes they will pay off in big and unexpected ideas. Sometimes they will be sorely tested.When you can keep your eyes intently focused during the receptionist’s explanation of how the next client’s strategic brief ought to be subtly tweaked, you’ll know you’re getting the hang of it.

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist The Republik Companies Chairman/CEO

Photo Credit: Tesmec via Wikimedia Commons – Licensed CC-BY-NC-SA


Please tell me that the asinine, made-up argument going on in the trades between “entertaining, involving” and “sound, strategic” advertising is over.

What a bunch of hooey. As if—the part that gets me—being “sound and strategic” somehow ensures that you will get results. As if—same coin, other side—tickling the funny bone of the collective ad world somehow, through some mysterious warp in space and time, beams dollars out of Joe Public’s wallet and into the client’s. And finally, as if all of us don’t already know the plain truth I’m leading to here: Any advertising that is not both involving (i.e. “creative”) and strategic is a waste. The hard part is combining them.

Because while effective advertising comes in one blended flavor only, call it “strategic-involving,” ad people come in two: Call them left- or right-brain, suits or stargazers, we all hate to admit it but none of us is both. Put differently, at best you can maybe balance two modes of thinking; no one can think two ways. (Unless you happen to be Ralph Ammirati. A certifiable creative/planning genius.) But for the rest of us, here it is…

Why I like testing… (done right).
I was once told by a very smart man, one who used to sign my paycheck, that what I know about research could fit in a… well, no need to elaborate. But being reasonably certain he doesn’t spend much time poring over artsy publications like Communication Arts (I know for a fact he never slept with the advertising annual under his pillow), I’ll add this man’s only flair for creative had a red felt-tip point on it. No, his strength was research; mine is to make something out of it.

News flash. Skilled suits and skilled creatives are not hard to find. What’s hard is when one side or the other has so dominated agency politics as to have “won” the battle. That’s when you get CDs pushing witty, pointless advertising, or copywriters who open each new TV script with the sound of a ringing bell, then try to make it relevant to, say, deodorant wearers, female, upper-middle income, ages 25 to 44.

No, creatives don’t need to think like suits; we do need some help understanding ’em (and vice versa). Can that be built in to a formal process? I think so. And for the collective good of the industry, not to mention all the royalties you’ll be happily sending me as your billings swell and grow, here it is. A few simple steps. Copy them if you can.

Give some, get some.
Warning: there are trade-offs. Account folk, and ultimately, clients, have to buy into ideas that send shivers up their nervous spines. We creative artistes, in return, see our share in the whole ad process get whittled down, whittled down, to where you want to buzz yourself on the intercom, just to see if you’re in. In between, we punch clocks along with our clients’ employees, logging in days as cashiers, carpenters, customer service agents, and cooks, for instance, one of my adventures a few years ago at a fast food chain.

Those are humbling experiences. Like when a customer chews you out—and waitresses smirk—because you mixed up his order and spooned grits, not gravy, on his biscuit. Believe me, putting on airs and saying, “excuse me, I’m really a creative ad person,” doesn’t work. Doesn’t work, either, when a strategist tells you to go back and try it again because you’ve totally missed the mark. Temperamental prima donnas don’t last.

But neither do patsy creative order-takers (Logo here? No problem. ‘Free’ in Extra Bold? Okay. Model in a green dress? Yes sir, right away, sir!). Because the payoff in this process is that, in our one little part where creative rules, it rules absolutely. No idea is too wild. No suit’s, no client’s opinion can shoot it down – if the idea achieves the client’s objectives.

Five formal steps, or phases, will see that it does. Two are research. A third is testing. They are rigorous. (Are you getting a sick feeling like this all leading up to “creatives can’t be trusted to stay on strategy”? Wait.) The point—where testing turns into a creative’s friend—is that it replaces subjective opinion, takes it right out of the game. Does the CEO’s wife like your commercial? Are viewers able to articulate its “intended main idea”?

Couldn’t you live with a process that makes one of those questions irrelevant?

The System.
Phase one is learning the client’s business, in other words, research. For the Strategists it’s quantitative: What do our client’s customers want? Where else can they get it? What will they pay? How many live inside five miles? Inside ten? For us creatives, client research means: go to work in the client’s stores and = warehouses; see what customers feel and want—from them and their competition. Hardly unique. But I’ve worked for agencies that were great at this – learned tons—then swept the bad news under the rug.

Creatives need this phase to educate themselves and to educate the client. If not, we’ll be stuck trying to fix the unfixable. Example: After two months of research, it was clear to us that my fast food restaurant client, had tapped out all the easy growth in one day part. Either someone had to tell them to “expand their menu”–something they did not want to hear—or they’d soon be telling us to sell more in that day part in a market that had all it needed.

Next, with pure research done, the creatives need it molded into something they can use. Phase two, called Interpret, is identify opportunities; set measurable objectives. Phase three, Develop, is select and hone those opportunities into an ownable position through which we can drive a 2% market share gain.

For the creative, three key things get encapsulated here: a position, a goal, and a yardstick—all settled and signed off on, among ourselves and with the client, before we start comp one. What we don’t get are vague wish lists, like “60% recall” or “33% read most.” How can you work towards that? Or even “Create awareness for another fast food chain in an overcrowded marketplace as the best place for quick food”? Sorry. Doesn’t cut it. How do you measure those? And what would it prove?

Instead, our goals are specific, business-related and quantitative: something to shoot for and something to measure by. Most important, neither we nor the client has to grope in the dark for that make-believe animal: a good, or “creative,” ad.

The deal
But isn’t that just what creatives do best? Maybe. Certainly it’s what we want to do most. We all got into this business to do cool ads. But live by the sword, die by the sword. Cool is nothing but one man’s opinion and if anything drives creatives nuts, it’s the idea that their work will die based on one silly opinion that isn’t their own. Most creatives I’ve known live in a place where if they hear one more opinion, they’ll scream. Our answer? Forget opinion.

So here comes phase four, Execute. It’s the only step that includes “creative.” And here comes the first half of the beauty part: After all this fact based research—whether it’s five phases, one, or seventeen, who cares?—we the creatives need never stop and wonder, “gee, do you think this will sell more fast food?” Instead we have what we trust are attainable goals. And we know what perceptions we need to change to get there. Our whole job is no more, no less than to convey an idea.

Which—beauty part number two—allows finally for the free rein all of us crave. The account side has tested and researched and gone out on a limb to tell us, “just deliver this message and everything will be fine.” Now we get to go out on a limb and say, “ok, here’s how we’ll do that.” That’s the bargain. Yes, it’s a constraint. But it only tells us what we have to do, never how to do it. And that’s a job that, if you ask me, any creative ought to want to sink his teeth into.

Not that it isn’t scary. Because from here on out, it’s up to us. And the hard part, as only anyone who’s tried to do it knows, is not simply re-stating the message outlined in the strategy. Any fool can do that. For creatives in this system, the one, single, butt-on-the-line responsibility is to get that message, the “intended main idea,” heard.

The payoff
And isn’t that the fun part? For a boat client whose manufacturing process creates a hull that is indestructible. Let the consumer offer suggestions on how they would like to see you put your ‘tough” strategy to the test. Videotape the best suggestions and post them back on the web for consumers to see how the boat survived their destructive ideas. For a computer client who needs to tell programmers about how fast their software is, give out play eyeglasses made from cardboard with wide-open eyes printed on the front, so they could nod off on the job in their new free time (this in an industry more used to blather about superhuman job dedication). For a college-town fast food chain, one whose biggest draw was its greasiest, heart-stoppingest, hangover-soppingest, everything-on-it nightcapburger, post “friendly” directions to the local cardiac unit… “because they are conveniently located.”

Pardon if this sounds like boasting—I guess it is—but the point is: We promised to make those messages heard. We did that (and had fun doing it). Our strategists promised that, if we made those messages heard, we would achieve our (quantifiable, agreed-in-advance) goals. And as we later found out in phase 5, Evaluate, we did that also. (If not, we’d have gone back and tinkered.)

Did some focus groupie take offense at the way we went about it? Don’t know. We test results; we test consumer attitudes—before and after they see the ad. It’s a circular process. We even go back and start all over again as circumstances evolve. We do not, ever, focus group the creative.

The Challenge
So there’s our unique methodology, offered here, free of charge, for anyone who cares to put it in place, a guaranteed system promising miraculous agency management insight into where to draw the line between… no; how to assign responsibility for… strategic and creative advertising goals.

Okay, we haven’t exactly given away the store. Again, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. Among other things, as I’ve hinted, trust is required—an elusive thing at best. To a degree, these steps institutionalize inter-agency and client/agency trust.

Another precious requirement, always in short supply, is time. This certainly isn’t the fastest way to create advertising, and early on with a newly won client, we don’t mind falling back on some proven, traditional techniques for quick initial results.

What the system does do is put some meat on the typical, empty, agency mantra—”breakthrough creative backed by solid research and brilliant strategic thinking.” And gets around the phony, pointless arguments that some very smart people get put in. Like one of those Ad Age panels with some high ad officials quote-debating-unquote (I don’t believe it) about “Ads that entertain VERSUS [emphasis not added] Ads that sell.”

Of course the goal is ads that sell. And of course entertainment is one (very good) way to get there. It is also, for most of us creatives, our strength and the reason we come to work each day. If intelligent testing (and planning and research) can both help us sell and give us greater artistic license… grab it.

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist The Republik Companies Chairman/CEO


Superman and Lex Luthor, Churchill and Lady Astor, Hillary and Obama – just a few people who despise each other about as much as advertising creatives and account executives. The animosity between the two is truly legendary. As one creative director said, “I never met a good account executive I didn’t despise.” But few people really know why. Most assume it’s because account executives have the reputation of being spineless, sycophantic yes men to clients. And because creatives are notorious, egomaniacal prima donnas who pitch tantrums when their “brilliant” work doesn’t sell. That’s only part of the story.

The real reason creatives hate AE’s and vice versa, has more to do with a seriously flawed business model than differences in personalities. The truth is, agencies today do not make most of their money from creating and producing ads. They got out of the idea generation business long ago. Agencies realized it was much easier (and more profitable) to give the work away and make a big, fat 15% commission on the media buy. But that’s not the case anymore. Large media buying companies have all but eliminated that source of income. So agencies have been forced to come up with other ways to take money from their clients. Hence, the explosive growth in research and brand planning. Ten years ago, no one had ever heard of a brand planner – now there’s a Planning Department in every agency. The big agencies purchased interests in research companies. They trademarked their own processes of brand analysis and hawked them as an essential ingredient to every marketing plan. They created in-house studios to produce animatics, storyboards and “scratch” radio spots for qualitative and quantitative testing. To ensure profitability, agencies then force creatives to use these in-house facilities.

The result? Ad agencies are now in the business of not producing ads. The business of testing, researching and fancy sounding trademarked processes to find “the soul” of a brand has become the real source of income for ad agencies. Income that had to be replace when agencies were forced out of the media buying business.

As a direct result of all this, the goals and priorities of a really good account person and a really good creative are 100% diametrically opposed to each other. Take your typical AE. His #1 priority is to make sure the agency is always profitably billing the client for something. His #2 priority is making sure the client is happy and the relationship is sound. Notice nothing was said about selling creative executions. Whether an ad sells or not, the AE gets paid the same amount. In fact, an AE might get a raise by not selling a campaign – as long as priorities #1 and #2 are met. In essence, there’s absolutely no incentive whatsoever for an account person to sell an ad. Period. So you see, a really good account person doesn’t really care if an ad sells or not. In fact, selling an ad may violate priority #1. By allowing the client to kill concepts, the really smart AE ensures the agency will be able to bill the client for another round of creative development, planning, research or —”Cha-Ching!” – all three. Crazy isn’t it?

On the other hand, a really good creative’s #1 job is to sell award-winning work. His #2 priority is to just sell something, anything so he can spend more time surfing the web and writing his screenplay. Notice that a creative person’s priorities do not include billing more hours and making the client happy. Creatives (unless they’re freelance) get paid the same amount of money whether they spend one hour on a project or 50. And to complicate matters, agencies always make sure their creatives’ time is maxed out on several projects. So when a client doesn’t buy work, it means the creatives are going to have to work late nights and weekend just to catch up. If this happens too often, (and it always does) art directors and copywriters will burnout. Sometimes permanently. That’s why creatives go nuts when their ads don’t sell – chances are they’re already on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Legendary copywriter, Jerry Della Femina once opened a 50th floor window and threatened to jump out if a client didn’t buy his work. The client did buy it and Jerry went on to write a best seller called From Those Wonderful People Who Brought You Pearl Harbor and to run a very successful restaurant in the Hamptons. But I digress.

Now you know why creatives get that desperate look on their faces when you don’t approve their concepts. Great ideas do not come easily. For that matter, neither do bad ones. Concepting ads takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears no matter how you slice it. And the thing that kills creatives more than anything else, are AE’s who treat ideas like they’re a dime a dozen. They’re not. On the other hand, nothing ticks off an AE more than a creative who throws a tantrum in front of the client. It jeopardizes priority #2 – the relationship. And if the client buys a campaign right off the bat, it will jeopardize priority #1 – squeezing as much money out of the client as possible. This is also why creatives demand to present their own work and precisely why AE’s don’t want them to.

So how do you fix this age-old problem? Should Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger step in? Actually, the problem is a pretty simple one to solve. Unfortunately, most agencies are too stuck in their ways to make the necessary fix. Agencies have to change their business models. Right now, agencies get paid the same amount of money whether their advertising works or not. It’s high time agencies joined the rest of the service industry and became accountable for the work they produce. For instance, they could tie their compensation to performance. If their ads meet certain marketing goals they’re paid more money, if they don’t, they get paid less. Additionally, agencies should make all the creatives and all the account executives partners. That way, account and creative people’s income is directly tied to their clients’ success or failure. In an agency that ties its compensation to performance and all its employees are partners, creatives and AE’s suddenly find themselves working towards the same goals – producing great ads that get results.

by David Smith The Republik

Photo Credit: Unknown via Wikimedia Commons – Licensed public domain