I rarely look at social media. And when I say rarely I mean it - not like my neighbour who says he rarely watches television - “just the news and wildlife documentaries” - but is strangely familiar with every twist in Game Of Thrones. (Full disclosure: I am one of the social pariahs who have never watched a single episode.) But the other day my sales director sent me a copy of a tweet from @AdWeak that made me laugh: “BREAKING: Client Informs Agency She Really Appreciates All The Hard Work That Went Into The Ideas She Is About To Kill.”
Their rich vein of tweets on the absurdities of agencies, clients and media, persuaded me to start following @AdWeak (although who knows how long that will last?). One post reminded me of an old school sales director - let’s call him Ray - we had back in the day: “Account Director Assures Client Prospective Client Agency Shares Same Passion For Whatever They’re Passionate About.” To be fair, Ray’s insistence on making a connection usually worked but football was his downfall - he was about as convincing as David Cameron who ultimately seemed to support any football team in claret and blue that wasn’t Burnley.
Still Ray did have to put up with the kind of customers who praised ideas even as they slaughtered them, suggested a few minor revisions to an order (usually code for moving the goalposts so far that our initial proposal was rendered irrelevant) and were instant experts on everything from substrates to emerging technologies to turnaround times.
You don’t get so many of these today. What you do get - as our present sales director complains - is a load of jargon. The other day he came back from a meeting with a client who had been talking about the key new trend of “human-centred marketing” which left us both wondering who they had been marketing to before.
I shouldn’t whine about clients, but it’s better than shouting at them. AdWeak also gave me my favourite fake statistic: “Report Finds 90% Of Creative Directors Lean Against Wall, Fold Arms For PR Photos”. I say it’s a fake statistic because, in my experience, the proportion is probably higher.