“How soon can you come back with something?” Potentially one of the most used lines in the client-agency relationship.
We’ve narrowed down so many moving parts in complicated machinery to a not-always-simple brief, encompassed by unrealistic deadlines – all of which could have been avoided if someone had thought to involve the agency earlier.
Wait, you’ve been developing this product for 6 months? It’s your game changer? So… why did you just tell your agency today? What’s that? The launch is in a month? And you want to have a 360 degree creative campaign that differentiates the brand across different segments? Of course you do. There’s a lot hinging on this? Isn’t there always? Ideas next week? Sure. Let’s just grab our magic wands and genie lamps.
I find that so many client-agency relationships have been reduced to fleeting encounters. Agencies are hardly involved in innovation, understanding business challenges, helping define market parameters or building marketing strategy anymore, because God-forbid the marketing department has an ego to protect or just hasn’t thought the idea of a relationship through. We’re faced with briefs where we’re forced to ask “why”, not in the “never-stop-asking-why” sense of the word but in the “Dear God, why?” sense of it.
And so we’re sent off in a confused haste. Because suddenly, a 6 month old project in the making is now an emergency. Also, the marketing boss would really like to see the idea before he goes on leave in 3 days.
The best work has come from relationships where brands treated their agencies as partners. They didn’t have to like everything about the other, but they stuck with it and birthed game changing products and campaigns together. They were woven into each other like spirit and soul.They dated. There was foreplay. There was cuddling. It was a revered, valued relationship.
That relationship has been reduced to quick, trivial, polygamous, dirty, motel fornication. The proverbial booty call at 1am.
Let’s make love. Again.
P.S: That amazing glass jug in the header is designed by Riedel.