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