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

Back The Experts, Not Your Ego …

I’ve written about this – kinda – a long time ago.


It’s the situation where unless there is group consensus, nothing goes ahead.

Yes, I’m talking about that thing called democracy.

Now I’m all for democracy … even when it goes bonkers and votes in our current Prime Minister.

But when it comes to the issue of creativity, I am less inclined to support it.

You see creativity is pretty subjective … it is also pretty scary … so even though our industry is filled with highly trained, highly experienced, highly regarded experts in the field, the decision to make something often ends up being driven by a client asking themselves, “do I like it?”.

Actually, it’s probably not that and more, “will my bosses like it?”

Oh of course no one will admit that … they’ll talk about how their experience or their conversations with clients/colleagues/customers is influencing their decision, but more often than not the reality is they feel far more comfortable doing something that ‘fits in’ rather than ‘stands out’.

Fitting in is safe.

Fitting in doesn’t get the scrutiny.

Fitting in doesn’t upset anyone around you.

So we end up in a situation where many clients ignore the experts – the people who know how to capture the imagination of the public in a way that serves their clients best interests – and focus on what the people around them think.

Or said another way, their strategy to approval is to ensure they can mitigate blame rather than drive glory which is why they allow the decisions to be made by committee rather than by their personal commitment.

It’s similar to those marketers who let research make the decision for them rather than inform their decision.

It’s the abdication of responsibility.

Now of course not everyone does this.

There are some amazing clients out there … those who are clear in what they want to achieve and trusting in the experts who want to help them get there.

But it’s getting less and less which is why we are ending up in more and more situations where ideas are born from pragmatism, diluted through fear and then executed by committee.

And if you need more proof, here’ is a quote from Dave Trott …

15 Comments so far
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Well said Robert. Distinction by committee is the worst situation a brand can find itself in. It ends up being a shopping list of bland, parity words that are forced together into a meaningless line that appeals to committee members, but fails to stand out to their customers or competition.

Comment by George


Too many companies don’t seem to understand the definition of distinction. Based on what I see every day, a large amount appear to believe it means derivative.

Comment by Rob

Did you use that Dave Trott quote recently? I only remember because I am sure Billy or Andy made a disparaging comment about him.

Comment by George

I think I did. That rings a bell for me too.

God, if not rehashing the same themes in my posts isn’t bad enough, now I’m rehashing the bloody photos. Haha. Maybe this blog should be automated, we would all get so much of our lives back. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I wouldn’t trust Trott to know what a great idea is.

Comment by Billy

If marketing and advertising can achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness through programmatic approaches, then it is logical to assume the same should happen to the marketing and procurement departments.

I don’t believe programmatic drives greater effectiveness (annoyance maybe?) and I don’t believe marketing and procurement departments will ever allow themselves to go the same way. Which is ironic when their approaches are much more consistent.

Comment by Pete

That is good.

Comment by George

Oh that is evil brilliance. You’re right too, when the approaches of so many companies is rinse and repeat, why aren’t their disciplines being automated. No doubt they will talk about the value of experience, human understanding, individual needs and approaches … you know, all the reasons they dismiss for needing their ad agencies.

Comment by Rob

I say programmatic everything People give me a headache. Especially people who talk about programmatic.

Comment by Bazza

That is an interesting point Pete. Especially because, for all their faults, the ad industry has continually looked for ways to evolve, often at the expense of their own creativity and profitability.

Comment by Lee Hill

And yet the organisations who hire the ad industry have fundamentally remained the same – while overseeing a downturn in long-term, sustainable and distinctive brand loyalty and value. Of course, some of this is not their fault – but there is more than a fair share that is.

Comment by Rob

This is good and I agree with it, but what about notts forest not being able to hold on to a lead?

Comment by Bazza

I hate you Baz.

Comment by Rob

First time I like the midget,

Comment by Billy


Comment by Bazza

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