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

Forewarned Is Forearmed…

Just before we started cynic, we got our hands on as many agencies creds decks as we could get. The point was we wanted to see how our ‘competition’ were positioning themselves so we could both learn about who they were and ensure what we did was not going to mimic anything that had already said or done.

We needn’t of worried.

The reality was the vast majority of agency creds all said the same thing.

Literally … the same thing.

Bar the logo in the bottom left/right hand corner and the case studies they showed, they all talked about how many offices they had, how many people they employed, their propriety tools, their effectiveness [which often was very questionable] and their management team.

And it went on.

And on and on and on …

Excessively long, contrived, mundane, corporate monotone, egotism aside … what shocked us most was how few talked about the value they placed on the quality of the work and their philosophy behind what made good work happen.

So when we came to creating our creds, the first page anyone saw was the image at the top of this post.

[For the record, it wasn’t that exact image, that’s my instagram ‘square’ pic of the 9 individual pieces of artwork that we had around the office that I only recently got my hands back on. Thanks Billy]

Now I am not denying it was a bit confronting.

And now – with experienced eyes – it smacks of trying a too hard to be noticed and different.

But the purpose of it was three-fold.

1 We wanted to ensure no one could mistake us for anyone else.

2 We wanted to make sure our work always represented our beliefs.

[Because we had read too many creds where the words didn’t match the output – indicating they were either delusionists or illusionists]

3 We wanted clients to know the majority of people they wanted to engage with, wanted them to leave them alone.

Part of that was because they had a ‘blanket’ approach to targeting – despite claiming otherwise.

Part of that was because they had a superficial/egotistical attitude towards why people would care.

Part of that was because they saw work simply as communication rather than building something bigger.

And while cynic has been dead for 8 years, I look at that image and think it’s still pretty relevant, which is pretty tragic, especially when you think about all the research, processes and tools adland likes to ‘big itself’ up about.

And that’s why I suggest to anyone looking to change agencies that before you make any decision – you should ask to see their creds.

Of course that shouldn’t be the only reason you choose a job, but seeing how they present themselves to others is possibly the quickest way to see what reality is truly like … especially when you filter it through the body of work they actually ended up putting out into the World.

17 Comments so far
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Still waiting for you to buy me a new piece of art or paint the walls of my apartment.

Comment by Billy Whizz

did campbell steal more from you? youre a muggers fucking dream.

Comment by andy@cynic

You can’t steal what was yours in the first place.

Comment by Rob

2nd page you forgetful fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh yes. Second page.

Comment by Rob

maybe i should tell you that page was really about you and george and planners infuckingeneral.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

This does not surprise me.

Comment by George

I thought it was a synopsis of the daily conversations we’d overhear between Andy, George and you.

Comment by DH

To be fair, it could easily have been mistaken for that.

Comment by Rob

I still keep a copy of those creds at home. I remember when I first saw them I knew I was talking to a company that saw things differently. It’s a great idea to see agency creds before signing on but as you said, the work is the ultimate proof of any claims.

Comment by Pete

But what did you say when prospective clients were looking at this slide? Because, on its own, you’re right that it reeks of trying too hard and that’s as bad as the not trying at all competitors you were up against.

Comment by John

campbell has a goldfish memory because it didnt appear on page 1 and it had copy saying this is what most people thought of the ads and brands that kept harassing the fuck out of them.

Comment by andy@cynic

Filling in the details so that people understand what he’s getting at. Must remind you of the good old days.

Comment by John

you know it. and did i get any thanks? did i fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Credentials explaining a philosophy rather than a range of relatively meaningless facts and industry data points. No wonder we were such a breath of fresh air.

Comment by George

I remember when that was presented to me the first time. I sat up, leant forward and wondered “where is this going.” You would not be able to get away with that today despite the point still being valid. Arguably more so.

Comment by Lee Hill

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