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


Remember What You’re Paying For …

When I read that Rubin quote, it reinforced why I hate when companies devalue creativity.

Focused on working down to a price rather than up to a quality ..

An expense, rather than an investment.

Even though they then expect it to work it’s socks off for them.

And while it would be easy to throw all this blame at the organisations who hide behind their procurement departments, the reality is – as I mentioned in an earlier post – the ad industry are equally complicit in this downturn.

Look, I get it … we’re fighting for our lives.

But selling the value of creativity down the river in favour of process and hourly rates seems to be an act of self sabotage. An act that has ended up handing power to a group of people who ignore context and quality and just evaluate on the comparison of unit prices. Who then demand agencies to accept work based on a price/output ratio not on quality/value.

And what this means is talent – real talent – gets pushed out for being too expensive.

Or too demanding.

Or too stubborn.

Adland has always had an issue with ‘experience’, but this approach is also affecting the new and the different.

The people with different backgrounds, new ways of doing things, looking at the world in unique ways.

And all because the price/output ratio the agency agreed to, won’t allow for any exploring.

Any anything.

Instead, they need to execute exactly what is wanted, efficiently. precisely and repeatedly.

And what is wanted?

Well, whatever the producer has determined can be done in the time/budget allowed … using previous work as the blueprint even though [1] the context is different [2] they don’t know whether that previous work, worked and [3] reducing creative minds to simply executional monkeys is the quickest way to destroy confidence, character and creativity.

Because what everyone seems to be forgetting is what it takes to make great work.

It’s not just about putting a brief in front of someone and – voila – it’s done.

Creativity is born from years of experiences, adventures, wins and losses, stories and songs, failures and fuck-ups.

Where every step of the journey has played a role in crafting that thing that will make so many people feel, think and do so much.

Ignoring that … devaluing that … not catering for that … doesn’t just mean you’re working against your own best interests, it means you’ve have failed to realise what you’re really paying an agency for.

It’s not simply to make an ad, it’s so they can hire the people who have the most interesting ways of looking at the world because of the experiences, ideas and imagination from the life you never had.


11 Comments

ok campbell, this isnt bad.

Comment by andy@cynic

The highest accolade.

Comment by Rob

This -> “Focused on working down to a price rather than up to a quality.”

Comment by Pete

This is what I was saying yesterday about people determining timelines with no involvement to solving the challenge.

Comment by Pete

Are you going to backdate the pay you owe for using my creative brilliance?

Comment by Billy Whizz

youre fucking lucky you got paid in the first place.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well, whatever the producer has determined can be done in the time/budget allowed … using previous work as the blueprint even though [1] the context is different [2] they don’t know whether that previous work, worked and [3] reducing creative minds to simply executional monkeys is the quickest way to destroy confidence, character and creativity.

I like this so much.

Comment by DH

They’re not producers. They’re accountants with an incorrect job title.

Comment by Pete

Ooooooh … that’s fighting talk that also happens to be very accurate.

Comment by Rob

I kinda feel this is down to ad agencies being shit at op management and to be fair business, majority of accounts and leads in agencies know very little about business beyond what their finance director told them or the forecasts (usually badly done) are created. Nobody measures and actually understands the process, where value is created, where focus should be needed. And they try to bundle everything together to please clients not understanding the economics and operational implications. I find it amazing that it lasted so long and we make cash with such business illiterates at the helm. Nobody actually understands their process in details, as in their variety-volume relationship, where complexity lies, and why is they an obsession of trying to do everything themselves or coupling everything like its the last hour of a sunday market. Who does that in a high value creative job? You see a top architect or craft man devalue and bundle shit in despair (unless they are indeed in despair) as a way of working? Also I would imagine Rubin does not bloody get involved in the mass production of the albums, distribution, and all that big volume business that happens after, that is low in complexity compared to his genius work on a master, and is small margins game. Creativity plays with big margins by definition, we are a multiplier effect. Why the fuck agency haven’t realise that they need to decouple completely creation from production, especially when volumes are exploding with the fragmentation of all the formats and channels clients want that in, ship production where its fastest and cheapest to do it, and keep creation focused on tackling the big challenges at high value and rates. Don’t bring down your high value thinking and time to cater to production volume rates and prices, that is a school boy error. Why does Apple have it “Designed in California”, while “Made in China”. Because design in cali is where they hire the best and creme de la creme, china is where they build and need volume work. Doesn’t mean the work in china is shit, it does mean its focus on volume and unit prices, while cali is focused on creation and in innovation. You naturally have conflicts when you start mixing variety and volume together into one place and process. Sorry for the rant, just crazy so many idiots get paid to manage agencies and don’t understand the functioning of it or made the effort, smoke and mirrors…

Comment by Ranty Muller

What took you so long to get here. You belong on this blog.

Comment by DH




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