Adweek just turned thirty. It can’t be easy covering an industry as bitchy and as full of aggressive self-promoters as ours is. I’ve seen what it’s like.
Anyhoo, Adweek’s Barbara Lippert has just written a piece recalling three ad campaigns that were “game-changers” over the past three decades.
You can read it here. It’s a three page article. Nike was on page one. Our Bud work was on page two. And to be honest, I never got to page three. Page two just wore me out.
One thing that struck me about all three campaigns she selected (update: page three has something about CPB and BK) is that all three were the product of great clients. I know you’re saying “duh!”. but we have had the great fortune to be the beneficiary of several truly great clients. and in case you haven’t, here’s how it works. if you’ve never worked with a great client, you might imagine them to be unquestioning but enlightened figures who are somehow in your thrall. and that would be a very wrong image. very far from the truth.
great clients are way ahead of their agenices. if you have a great client, you are along for the ride. great clients have a vision of what they want to have happen. and they challenge you to use the freedom they give you to the maximum. and if you’ve never had complete creative freedom in your life, you might not know this, but it’s kind of scary. the universe is a big place, suddenly. you become, potentially, the weakest link in the chain. now you have to deliver. what you got?
it’s a lot easier to complain about how everyone is an idiot and you’re not. but suddenly that’s not an option anymore. you’re getting a clear shot at doing something great.
And the best clients know this. so now the pressure is on YOU. you have nothing to hide behind.
I always use a similar psychology when dealing with directors and other creative vendors. i just pass on the creative freedom i have to them. make them happy. i don’t want to be a director. i make it apparent that the success or failure of the job is entirely in their hands and on their shoulders. I keep an eye on things but so long as it’s going the right way i keep my mouth shut. let them have fun for once. be the good client! they work ten times harder as a result. they get to have the same feeling i do. seems only fair.
and it works like a charm every time. everybody loves freedom and fun!