Ad Agencies and Chinese Whispers

Normally in an agency it works like this. You (the client) brief an account executive who “learns” your business and interprets your brief. He/she then briefs a creative person who will write the ad. You might ask, “why can’t I just deal with the creative person?” Good question. Agencies like to shield the creative from the client because:

(1) Clients are demanding and creative people are “sensitive”. When the client gets picky the creative wants to punch him.

(2) Shielding reinforces the idea that the creative is a highly paid specialist. The truth is, there are lots of writers, graphic artists and film-makers out there. It’s a buyer’s market.

(3) Shielding stops the client accessing the creative talent direct. Direct contact would cut out the middle man, i.e. the agency’s reason for being.

Advertising is communication and we all know how imperfect communication is even talking face to face! The idea of someone writing your advertising having heard about your business second hand is just dumb.

That’s why I work directly with clients and write their material myself. And to my credit I haven’t punched one in years.


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