The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Meek Shall Not Inherit The Earth.
April 10, 2007, 9:52 am
Filed under: Comment

Donald Trump

I am sure I have written about this in the past … but one thing that really gets my goat is this term, “It’s Just Business”

As far as I can tell, this roughly translates into, “I’m going to fuck you over, but you shouldn’t take it personally as I like you really!”

What a load of bullshit …What upsets me more is when people act in this way because they believe this is what makes them look like a ‘serious business person’.

Just recently, we got asked – at incredibly short notice – to help a client out in developing their brand core idea.

When we presented back our concept to the key client, he said it was great and asked us to present it to his local country managers – with the acknowledgement that he would fully back us in our proposal.

Jump to the presentation and it was a blood bath of comments – some justified [requiring a few minor changes], some totally without merit.

What happens?

Because the client is too frightened to make the tough call [because he feels it could upset and alienate his mass of junior, less experienced colleagues] he has kicked out our idea and gone with a concept his team has come up with … an concept that is weak, full of category cliché’s and not addressing the fundamental issues affecting their business.

When I told them [and showed them] what they were going to do was fundamentally wrong for their business, I got told to ‘… not take it personally’.

Don’t take it personally?  Of course I take it personally …

I can live with the fact they may not like the idea we developed for them … I can appreciate that people of less experience are going to be more risk adverse than those with a wider body of practical knowledge … … I can just about accept a person in a senior position ultimately mad a decision based on what would make him look good to his team rather than what would be right for his business … but I will never, ever, ever accept that our hard work – work we spent ages in developing, validating and demonstrating – is something that can be simply cast aside without a decent explanation.

That ISN’T what serious business people do. 

Serious business people give genuine, well thought out reasons behind their actions … they don’t just brush off people’s hard work with a phrase that is used to hide behind their lack of decision making process and/or backbone.

I’ve been lucky enough to have worked/still work with some rather successful business people … Richard Branson / Steve Jobs / Anita Roddick / Lachlan Murdoch … and not once did they ever use that phrase, even when they were adamantly opposed to our point of view.

Clients have no right to say their agencies aren’t focused on their business needs when in too many cases, the client does not make the decisions that will positively change their fate.

Agencies [well, the good ones] are not suppliers … they help companies grow by helping them connect to the ever-growing, ever-cynical consumer … and if clients don’t like the answers the agency gives, then they either [1] shouldn’t ask the question or [2] give a decent reason for not agreeing because as far as I am concerned, life’s too short for me or my company to waste time on the ‘timid’ of business.

37 Comments so far
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maybe cynic should have the contact details for a few high-class hookers, so when high-ego, low-courage clients decide that they’d rather get a blow job than make a good business decision, you can make a referral 🙂

Comment by lauren

well it cant be one of ours so i am guessing its one of the wpp fuckwit clients you have to deal with, am i right? tell the bastards to fuck off, infact why dont we/you tell wpp to fuck off, we want you 100% “home”.

Comment by andy@cynic

Of course it was a WPP based client – do you think any of ours would dare behave that way bar ‘you-know-who’? Have to say, I am very touched by your loyalty and concern – are you drunk? Give me a call, I’m around this morning.

Lauren – we already know quite a lot of high class hookers … but only because cynic’s first birthday party was held in a rather upper class brothel. [Only party I’ve ever been too where EVERYONE invited came. Hmmmmn, not like that!]

Comment by Rob

Bob Geldof of advertising is back in the house. Great rant, and I agree with Andy as you are the only person I know who could get away with it.

Comment by Pete

I think the term is ‘watch this space’ – but then some of you on this blog already that don’t you, ha.

Comment by Rob

“the only party i’ve ever been to where EVERYONE invited came”.. you should have just left it at that – that’s impressive.. ha!

Comment by lauren

sure do

Comment by andy@cynic

i agree lauren, i am quite upset and concerned that rob wimped out on that massive sexual innuendo opportunity. hes going fucking soft.

Comment by andy@cynic

Did you mean to leave another innuendo there Andy?

Comment by Pete

of course i did, im that good.

Comment by andy@cynic

telling people to fuck off is good best practise.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Rob is back, with style too!
You are right of course…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Thank you for your support ladies and gentlemen, lets see if your ‘advice’ is good in about … ooooooh, 60 minutes!

Comment by Rob

4:55pm … your advice was utilised but the reaction was not as favourable as you/I wanted.

Still, telling someone to “Fucking Eat Shit” is always going to remain in the memory – both of his and mine, ha!

The story continues …

Comment by Rob

you were hoping for a favourable outcome after telling someone to fucking eat shit? i thought them fucking off was the plan…

Comment by lauren

Maybe I was abit naive!!!

Actually this was an argument with a different person – the ‘fuck-off-the-client’ conversation is when I have lunch with them on Friday … a lunch they are taking ME too because they know I am fuming at them. They’ll find out just how fuming I am about the 2nd mouthful of the entree.

Comment by Rob

Basically those marketing people who ask for wow and run a mile when they get it are corporate cocksuckers. They are risk averse and would prefer to talk down to their customers with safe cliches than do something edgy/unique and most importantly authentic. The nail that sticks out gets hammered in around that part of the world. Generally CEO’s are more ballsy than their marketing people if there’s a chance to move up the food chain. (Starting with Plankton in the marketing department)

Comment by Charles Frith

You’re right Charles – the clients we work best with [and do the best work for] are the CEO’s of the company … the issues arise when we have to deal with ‘middle management’ … blander than a beige Volvo!

Comment by Rob

Problem is unlike many of us, those people act only to make themselves look good; they dont understand customers in the way they should.

CEO’s are usually smart enough to understand that quality and truths will help sales, whereas the plankton…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Thats why they are middle management, hired by middle management and promoted by middle management probably.

This layer of mediocre between the brand and its visionaries…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Let me quote from the back of my business card …

“Robert hates how ‘average’ has become a defined business direction”

Middle Management is about job protection.
CEO is about growth and ego.

Comment by Rob

Why do you think we like you lot!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

what do the back of george and andy’s business cards say?

Comment by lauren

Andy’s says something like “I have to work to keep my ex-wives in the style they quickly got accustomed to” whereas George goes on about how his “3 Beautiful Nightmares ensures he works bloody hard to buy them the presents that ensure 20 minutes of peace”

The best is Billy’s … “I am too good to work in this place but the World hasn’t realised it yet!”

Comment by Rob

ha!! nice!
george and andy – i’m sure you are excellent at what you do, but your business card bios need some work. only 1 gold star each.

Comment by lauren


5/5 for Billy
4/5 for Andy and Rob
3/5 for George

Still, better than the 0-1 most people have…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

To be fair, there is alot more than just that information – I’ll put mine up so you can see the sort of thing I mean …

Comment by Rob

Sounds interesting…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

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Let’s not just assume spineless idiots are all clients. The biggest, most spineless person I think I’ve ever met was someone I went into business with (yeah, I’m a lousy judge of character). After allowing me to invest money into a start up with him, he used it to prop up his lifestyle while he went looking for a job in a big media agency. Yes you SA. He thought he was very JR, all’s fair in love and business etc. Gave him a great opportunity to hide his lack of moral fibre. I’ve since moved on, made back the money and the anger has turned to pity. Still a lousy judge of character though

Comment by simon

You’re so right Simon … this trait is not exclusivly a ‘client’ thing, infact too many in adland seem to suffer from the affliction.

They expect loyalty but give none back – how do they reckon that is going to work.

Glad you are ‘sorted’ now … and I look forward to you announcing who ‘S.A.’ is so we can hunt him down and scalp him on your behalf!

Comment by Robert

Sounds like a fun mystery game.

Who shot SR?

At uni, I was involved in a potential business project; you’d be amazed (or not) at all the useless people who thought they were business geniuses.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

As they say … it’s a shame that all the people that can solve the problems in the World are working as Taxi Drivers, Hairdressers and Barmen!

Comment by Robert

Very true. 99% of the worlds best football managers are in bars watching the game!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

So will Simon ‘spill the beans’?

Comment by Rob

Hope so!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Go on then Simon. Who is it?

Comment by Rafik

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