Friday, January 12, 2007

The (M)Adman Diaries Part I: Evul Clients

(Disclaimer: The following story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

However, the verbatims are all REAL.)

Dear Diary,

I was on leave today. Migraine – had it for the longest time. They say it’s a common disease for admen - people working in advertising - especially creatives. We deal with a lot of stress, that’s why.

I spent half the day catching some long-lost sleep. The other half, thinking what triggered my migraine besides the lack of it. Pardon my rambling; I’ve had four Advils already.

What could’ve caused it? Better yet, who? As I ponder and recall previous discussions with the people I deal with every single day at work, I began to wonder…

Could it be my clients?

Could it be the high-maintenance client who makes demands as if he owns our souls even though he only contributes to 1/1,116 of our billings?

“It’s just a minor revision. We’re just changing the copy and layout of the whole print ad. And, oh, the concept doesn’t fit so we might want to change that as well.”

Asked what exactly he wants and when he needs it, the humble client replied:

"It’s simple really: I want you to come up with something that’s never been done before; something that touches hearts and minds all around the world. Oh, and I need it by 11 tomorrow morning."

Could it also be the client who knows what he wants, so much that he wants everything present in his ads?

"We love option 1. It is by far the cleanest layout. We'd just like to add a little contact information. Just the call to action, website and 8 of our partners’ logos. You guys are the artists. Just do your thing to make sure it’s not too cluttered. I mean, hey, you really can’t read all that information in a billboard, can you?”

What about the client who can't make up his mind?

Account Exec: (yelling sarcastically) "Finally! The client has given us FINAL approval! He just asked if we could change one small thing. Woohoo!"

(From a client’s email):

“Please be reminded that we are selling a superior product. It is the best in the market. However, we can’t put this in print because we can’t prove it, and we don’t want the people to know that it’s not. So can you just say it’s superior without really saying superior?”

Could it be the unprofessional ones?

Client: (Raging) “You always send me the layouts too late. I will not approve them like this!”

Creative: “But we sent them at 2 pm…”

Client: “Yes, but I just got to the office at 6pm!”

Or worse, those that are just plain stupid?

(Dumbfounded) "You guys are giving me a hard time here. How on earth do you expect me to put the link on my desktop when you know I only have a laptop?"

(A telephone conversation:)

Client: “There’s a little spot on the HTML.”

Artist: “Where?”

Client: “Between the pictures and the description. I move around the little arrow and the spot stays there. Is it a mistake in the HTML code?”

Artist: “I don’t know about a spot, it’s very strange. Maybe your monitor is dirty?”

Client: (Pauses for a while, then shouted) “Oh, yes! Yes! You’re a genius!”

(During a client brief):

“Ok, here’s what the problem is. Our bank is losing many clients, especially the retired senior citizens. The main reason for this is their death. Our objective is simple: get those clients back.”

Worse, stupid clients who act smart or those who won’t admit they have any idea how advertising works:

“I asked for the photo in high resolution! I can’t work like this! A photo is in high resolution when I can’t see it in my computer!”

Client: “Can you change the word ‘exquisite’ on the ad? I personally think that any words including the letter X are way too complicated for our market to comprehend.”

Copywriter: (Sarcastically) "You mean like, axe... and sex?"


Client: "Just change the damn word!" (and leaves the room)

"This flyer is urgent! I don't know how you do it but just do it so it fits an envelope. Just like the one I'm holding now".

(Client to creative... on a phone conversation)

You see, dear diary, I’m at a lost as to what or who caused my migraine. To make it worse, clients are not the only smart people in the world of advertising. Sometimes, skull-cracking comments like the ones above are caused by the same people we work with. That’s right. People from advertising.

But I'll just save that for my next entry. It’s getting late and it’s time for my 5th pill. I better hit the sack early as I still have to figure out what to do with those darn flyers.

Good night.

(Next post: The (M)Adman Diaries Part II: Account Executives)


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

LOL! What you have to deal with is insane. Forget the migraine I'm surprised you're still in your right mind!

Feel better soon!

Jay said...

You have to deal with some .. ummm ... interesting people! haha

Get better.

schaumi said...

so, do you have a punching bag in your office? no, what i meant to say is that your fictitious character possibly might want to consider a punching bag or perhaps a dart game with photos of clients on the other end.

i can really relate to migraines since i seem to get them rather frequently lately. couldn't possibly me the 700 students i teach a week..hmmm...naaaah

Cinderella said...

OK, I just got a headache reading that!! lol

I get migraines. I never used to but recently they have made there way into my world. I HAVE to lay down, they literally knock me off of my feet. My whole body trembles and I wanna puke. They are horrible! I totally feel your pain, TOTALLY!

Dirk_Star said...

Sometimes the needs of a pregnant wife outweigh the needs of the many...


The clients seem pretty normal.

Have you examined your personal life?

gorgeous noelle said...

i can relate to the migraine and the clients. yek.

once had a client who asked for a printout of a billboard design we actual size.

blair_mitch said...

Dear Russ, you better be nice to the AEs. From the Queen of Accounts. Hahahaha.

russkal said...


I know! Insane as it is, though, I still love my job. It's kinda like cigarettes, you know it's bad for your health, yet it's highly addictive.

Oh well...


Thanks, man.

That's a nice way to put it. However, it is true that I deal with a lot of interesting people. I guess that in any workplace, you can't avoid some bad apples.


We make client effigies and burn them to the ground.

I wish! Nah, me and the clients are ok, they just drive me nuts sometimes.

700 students? Wow, you're a superwoman!


You have to find out what triggers your migraine. There are a lot of possible causes. Mine, for instance, is lack of sleep, incompetence and utter stupidity.

Oh, did you know that some migraines are caused by eating chocolates?

Bummer, huh?


I'm with you on the pregnant missus. Not on the clients I mentioned being normal.

Normal jackasses, maybe!

Gorgeous Noelle,

This lass, folks, is also an adman. Actually, adgirl (she's only 24 - so she say's).

I suggest you find a way to print out that billboard (actual size) as he requested. Mock it up in scaffoldings, and slam it on your client's head.

Instant gratification.


Hey, I'm always nice to the AEs! Some of my great friends are AEs, like gorgeous noelle above!

Don't worry, the third installment of this trilogy is about Creatives naman.

We're all about fairness and equality here in The Midnight Oil, y'know!

russkal said...

I just re-read this post and found many typos.

My apologies for not checking thoroughly.

Like I said, I have migraine, so I'm excused.

notfearingchange said...

Ouchy head - Advil Migraine...magical blue gel caps YUM!

As for the client's laughed my ass off!

ps. roast was delish!

The Wizened Wizard said...

Reality is always funnier than fiction! The guy who writes Dilbert could take some inspiration from you, Russcal.

Hope your head is feeling better. Ever try Imatrex? (It's prescription and it works well for me).

The Wizened Wizard said...

Yikes - I spelled your name wrong. Sorry, Russkal.

Yasamin said...

The main reason for this is their death. Our objective is simple: get those clients back.”

That's it! I'm opening an intertransendental bank for those who are alive, dead, and undead!! immediately!

thank you for the notion of the idea. mind you... you get nothing for it. haha!

ps.. can you make the font bigger? i mean i know it wont fit the page but find a way! hahah

Brooklyn Frank said...

cool stuff.

schaumi said...

no, not superwoman...
more like stupid.

i'm choosing to believe that chocolate's are not one of the food items that could trigger migraines
..see? ....stupid...c'est moi

Eve said...

That's hilarious! I wonder about people like that - do they honestly believe what they are saying?

Enemy of the Republic said...

Whoa, sir. Now you can write. How is the princess?

Dirk_Star said...

Eddie award checklist.


Black and white graphics...

Still using word check...


Steven Novak said...

This all sounds so very famaliar...

Unfortunately. ;)


Steph said...

Proof positive that I am right in hating all people. Thank you ;)

Amery Celiza said...

the hilarity of this post mainly lies in the fact that we all know a person (or ten) who really act like that. i've heard so much 'horro' stories from my advertising professors so even though i don't know exactly how bad things get, i do acknowledge that the hardhsips are very real.

:) a new passerby. :)

Craig D said...

"I can't tell you what I want, but I'll know it when I see it!"

russkal said...


Great to hear your first attempt was succesful. Maybe you can share your recipe sometime...


No problem, Wiazdr! I mean, Wizard. See my new post about Imatrex.


I can smell it from the fiber optics... you're one of them evul clients, are you?

Brooklyn Frank,

Thanks, man.


No worries. It just takes some getting used to. One of the main triggers of mine is lack of sleep, and yet, look at the time stamps on my posts.

Try that drug Wiz is suggesting or you can see my post above.


I know. And somehow, they've managed to climb the corporate ladder, too!

Enemy of the Republic,

Thanks Ma'm. Yours is way better. The princess is fine, thanks for asking. She's currently addicted to her new cell phone.


Give me a break, man.

I have migraine...


Welcome to the Club then.


Do you? There's still some loveable creatures out there, y'know. Like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. hey, I said creatures!

Amery Celiza,

An advertising student! Are you out of my mind???

Seriously, good luck! And thanks for dropping by.


Comin' right over!

russkal said...


That's "your" mind, not my mind.


(Ssshhh... don't tell Dirk.)