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


Why It’s Good To Have Argumentative Clients …
August 11, 2010, 6:06 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things that pisses me off with adland is how they get their knickers in a twist when a client doesn’t automatically buy their ideas.

They act as if there is no deeper insult than to be questioned about your choices by a person who is not only paying for the whole thing, but knows more about it than you ever could.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the sort of client who spends 4 hours arguing about a single word or complains they don’t like the contour of the talents eyebrows – I’m talking about the sort of client who asks challenges, debates and asks questions about your thinking/approach to the challenge they’ve asked you to help them with.

Why do I like these sorts of clients?

Because it shows they care.

They’re not doing it to be smartarses … they’re not doing it because they fancy themselves as a creative … they’re not doing it because they’re only empowered to say “no” … they’re doing it because they want the best possible solution to their situation and want to make sure they understand what you’re doing as opposed to simply criticizing it for criticizms sake.

Sadly nowadays this sort of client is pretty rare – but they’re still there, we dealt with one just last week – and whilst I know in this particular case there’ll be issues moving forward that we probably won’t agree on, I know it won’t ever be because of subjective perspective or blinkered arrogance, which is why he can be as painful as he likes, because we all know his goal is to be brilliant which means we’ll all happily work harder and longer which is possibly the smartest move a client can make.


36 Comments so far
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half decent fucking post there campbell, about fucking time, but i wonder if your client would write a post called “why it’s good my planner took the piss out of me on twitter when i follow the twat?”.

thought not.

Comment by andy@cynic

I did not ‘take the piss’ out of the client … I simply made a momentary lapse of judgement. Ahem.

And that’s big coming from a man who vomited on a clients desk.

15-15.

Comment by Rob

at least my fuck up was rock and fucking roll. whats some shitty comment on twitter? its wiggles standard shit.

game set and fucking match.

Comment by andy@cynic

Actually I can’t argue with that and besides, mine wasn’t actually aimed at the client, I was just commenting about something so out of the realms of my reality that I found it funny – it just happened to be suggested by him rather than something I was saying about him however out-of-context it did look very bad which was especially bad as I actually think this guy is awesome. You – on the other hand – were as focused as a sniper.

Comment by Rob

Campbell has more lives than a cat with multiple personality disorder. Remember the lozenger incident? He shoul of received a punch in the face not a new client.

He’s in league with the devil, it’s the only conclusion.

Comment by Billy Whizz

It was a side effect Billy, not an act of aggression.

Sure it was caused by some throat lozengers, but that’s besides the point, I was taking them because I felt ill, not because I knew they would make me insult a client who’d flown 12,000 miles to see me.

Comment by Rob

twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’ll get no argument from me … though at least my illness was genuine [manflu] whereas yours was self induced [alcohol]

Anyway that’s all vomit under the bridge, that was all a very long time ago when we were all immature, which obviously isn’t the case anymore.

Comment by Rob

Another conclusion is he is the devil which makes even more sense to me.

Comment by Billy Whizz

its taken you that fucking long to work out billy? fuck me what do they teach you in the jock club?

Comment by andy@cynic

So argumentative clients get to spend more time with you. This is smart why?

Comment by John

fuck me dodds, where have you been.

campbell doesnt mean argumentative in petty shit terms but when you really push eachother to do the best work of your lives. where there is a sense of competition to make the other try harder. like that bollocks campbell wrote years ago about the who or oasis or some other band that were as famous for their tension as their sounds.

i actually agree with the fucker on this post and spending time with clients is a good thing if what you do is more than just talking fucking copy changes or listening to them say they love everything but want everything “ever so slightly changed”.

Comment by andy@cynic

I was having an existential crisis. And now I return to find you’ve mellowed into genial Uncle Andy, I thought I was having another one. But then I remembered you’ve been overexposed to wood glue lately.

PS While I was away, the football season began – something Campbell seems to have neglected to mention. Probably due to the score Burnley 1 Nottingham Forest 0.

Comment by John

it was a bad week to decide to give up the crack.

forest lost today to bradford today. i was going to say what is it with them and teams beginning with b but then realised its actually them and teams beginning with abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx & fucking z.

Comment by andy@cynic

Doddsy is calling you ‘nice’ Andy. Isn’t that fighting talk or are you too busy with making your curtains?

Comment by Rob

I knew you liked my blog really Andy – what other reason could there be for you remembering a post I wrote ages and ages ago. Either that or you have nothing else in your life.

Anyway here’s the post http://bit.ly/aK3Oi6 … and for the record, I don’t want to talk about Forest until [1] they actually sign a player this season or [2] they win an ‘away’ match. Guess that looks like this blog will be Forest free for 2010/11.

Comment by Rob

what have forest and campbell got in common?
theyre both losers. and shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

and have their best days behind them.

Comment by andy@cynic

and will never break into the big league again.

Comment by andy@cynic

but mainly losers and shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s quite a compelling proposition. Damn. Anyone got a razor blade handy?

Comment by Rob

I think the term “argumentative clients” is misleading Robert because what I think you mean is “demanding clients”, as long as it is in the terms you set out above rather than the ones who want work delivered within 8 hours and then proceed to art direct and copy write everything with a tone to suggest they’re dealing with idiots.

I’m not surprised you have great clients because W+K is one of those agencies where people go there for a specific reason, but it’s still pleasing to know you feel you have a client who wants to push you harder in a positive way rather than sit back and just accept whatever brilliance your new colleagues develop for them.

And you’re right, the way some agencies react to even the smallest of constructive commentary is ridiculous which only serves to undermine their value in the eyes of the client.

Comment by Pete

trust you to make a fucking sensible comment pete. how fucking depressing.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sheeeeeeet.

Comment by Colonel Kaiser

Drives me mad when agencies don’t respecy clients who quite reasonably want to debate stuff. The more an idea gets shaken around to see if it falls apart, the better it gets. Agencies might know communications etc, but clients know the business, the more we respect what each other can do the better.
The more that kind of relationship develops, the more you can have grown up conversations about how their product needs to develop, how bollocks focus groups are, why they shouldn’t bother pre-testing, but if they must, how to not kill ideas, why digital isn’t a toy, why they shouldn’t get tied in knots over Millward Brown tracking etc.
That debate swings both ways, but you can’t tell them unccomfortable truths unless you’re prepared to hear some of your own.

Comment by northern

you mean there isn’t a proprietary tool for dealing with client debate?

Comment by lauren

That would be the suit.

Comment by John

A ‘workshop’ – ‘make the client buy a idea because they think they thought of it’ masquerading as collabarative ‘idea generation’

Comment by northern

Hello … given I’ve spent all day in one, I would agree with your point NP/G, except this time the client bought an idea they thought of without even having to pretend their was any collaboration going on mainly because every time I opened my gob, I said the wrong thing. Story of my life eh, ha!

Comment by Rob

nice work doddsy.

Comment by lauren

..or cunning use of reverse psychology

Comment by northern

Them or us?

Comment by Rob

You?

Comment by northern

what the fuck have you gone and done this time campbell?

and dont act all coy about groper calling you a manipulative tart. sharon stone in basic instinct was less of a manipulating genius/shit than you are and we all know it so stop being a twat and accept it.

Comment by andy@cynic

I bet he gone and fucked the fuck up.

Comment by Colonel Kaiser

I like the way you talk and think.

Comment by andy@cynic




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