At risk of being a weekly publication, I have a feeling that I am exactly falling into the trap of becoming one and even though it’s stale I have yet to come out with a better excuse than busy to many people. Yes, I still have my drinks thing that go on (so what’s the excuse eh?) but I reckon that I am so busy working, that I ended up working just hard to compensate for it either in drinks or retail.
So who is to blame? Management had a directive to get us all to cut down working hours by 30%. It seems that in the past without computers and the internet, the advertising industry’s working hour was much more shorter and now with all the technological advances, we should be able to cut down the hours even more (because let’s face it, technology is supposed to help us move faster) but no, it seems that Client has grew more demanding over the years.
Take for example planning a schedule for newspaper ads. In the past, you have no choice but to produce films that require time in order for the plant and machine to print the ads that you see so everyone involved in the process will be mindful to plan ahead or nothing in the world can save them and also not take too much time in approval and decision processes. But with new technology, films are produced much faster, there’s an online version whereby you just send the file and DHL has improved through the years so that you can send a film to Sabah for their local papers to publish your ad within 24 hours. Their last flight of the day is at 2am at a pickup station in Glenmarie.
And how on earth do I know that? That’s because Client these days make decisions and changes last minute and take forever to approve things or hardly revert back when required. So the scene of us trying to send the ad’s material just before the deadline is nothing new, it used to be so bad that we have to deliver it right to the printing plant, just minutes before they start printing the papers at midnight for the next day publication.
Not only Client takes for granted that since we have the resources and technology that enables us to do things and revisions faster (hence they take forever for last minute approval or revisons), they have also become smarter in their own terms. Smarter being they think that with a computer, anyone can become an art director or anyone who can string two words together can be a copywriter. Internet while it’s good for us (easy to do research and help to connects all the offices around the world to share idea and resources) has also opened the eyes and mind of many people. Knowing just a little and thinking they know it all is a dangerous thing. What I don’t understand is why wouldn’t anyone tell a surgeon what to do or where to cut but they would tell an art director where to place a logo and what font type to use. I mean at the end of the day, they hire us for a reason and if they want to dictate every move, then they might as well just hire graphic designers to move the crop about. And the best part is after all this; they have the cheek to ask us our recommendation. I have given our recommendation on a piece of artwork and they don’t like it. Instead they went for something bad and can’t decide between Ugly Option 1 and Ugly Option 2. So I have told the Clients before that don’t ask for recommendation because you didn’t take it at the first place and there’s nothing to recommend when both options are equally as ugly.
Mind you, things can get even uglier when they spent so much time analyzing little bit of things that is not related to their product. Time and energy was spent in order to revise for example a picture of a butterly next to a flower next to a bush next to something. Does the butterfly sell the product? No. Is the butterfly, the product, No? Does changing the color of the butterfly help you sell extra one product? No. But delaying the work and message out there in the market will be the cause of low sales. The things and details that they bitch about most of the time would surprise you and I think it will take half an eternity to run by it all.
What’s most frustrating about the whole thing is that most of these people used to be from agency. This means they used to have brains and can think strategically. I don’t understand how your brain cells can suddenly die when you switch over to the Client side and start asking silly questions and making stupid demands which you ought to know better than to do so. I mean arguing about certain accessories on certain talents in a certain TVC is really really stupid when your product has nothing to do with accessories but rather something else. If it was Vogue, I would have kept my mouth shut but no. Maybe they weren’t good advertising man and woman to begin with which is why they switch over to Client side. Many would argue that being in the client side means better life quality which I won’t argue because their life becomes better thanks to making ours worst and doing all the work for them.
But having said all that, not EVERY client is that stupid. Once in awhile you will get some who are slightly smarter. And another note of disclaimer, this is a collection of ranting after 3 years of servicing numerous account and Clients hence I am not pointing it to specifically anyone. The thing that keeps me going is the understanding that without Client, there is no Agency. And when someone pointed out to me by asking what kind of job that I am doing if it requires such long hours and dedication, I only answered just another job. But in my mind I knew it is one of the best jobs on earth. The people who stay long enough not to go to the Client side that you work with are all equally as happy and passionate about their work as you are and the energy of creativity is high that you can’t help but be swept by it all. I can only describe it and the only who can understand it. To those who are not in it, it’s just a job and true like my answer, it is but one heck of a job indeed.