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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Things I will leave with relief when I die

Years ago an art director at O & M in Toronto, enraged beyond endurance by an asinine client who kept making pettifogging changes to his layout, asked coldly, "Where were you when I had the idea?"

In days of yore when Madmen roamed the earth, Marty Stein, my very New York Art Director at PKL, used to say dealing with such wretches was like being nibbled to death by ducks.

I fondly dreamt that when I attained a certain competence I would be respected sufficiently to be spared this sort of irritating nonsense. Fat chance.

A few months back I did an ad for a client who had been pissing away a ton on ads that got no response, so I banged one out that got scads of leads which didn't convert very well, I assume because his conversion material was shit.

Then he asked me to do another which is the best thing I've done in ages, mainly because my art director Chris Jones took my sketchy idea and made it work. The client loved this little masterpiece, which has been going through the torment of compliance ever since.

You would think he would behave himself - but no. Another job we have just finished had to be redone twice because the man kept changing the brief. In the end he told us exactly what he wanted, right down to the flotilla of logos at the bottom and we gave it to him. Never again.

Some people you just can't help, like the marketing director who fucked me around once, then came back on bended knees after she joined another firm. For her I wrote a mailing that pulled 78% response and more orders than they'd ever had. Did that stop her nasty habits and general folly? No chance.

She got me involved in a "rebranding" - useless jargon which meant bringing in her pet designer, whom she paid to make her perfectly adequate, quite elegant brochure uglier and less readable. In the process she conned me into writing an amazing amount of copy for far too little money. I take comfort in the thought that the industry she works in is sorely hit by the recession.

Another two creeps managed between them to dishearten one of the most able and by far the most hard-working person I have ever worked with so much she quit - to get another job paying twice as much.

Recently I asked how she was getting on. "It's great" she said. "I get twice as much done because I don't have to spend half my time on the phone with idiots."

These know-nothing loafers spring up like toadstools. Why do I always mistake them for mushrooms? Hardly any have even bothered to study the bare basics of advertising or marketing.

David Ogilvy used to have a note pinned up on his wall: "Please God, send us smart clients." They are the ones that make it worthwhile, but I wish a few of the others would curl up and die. Before me, please.

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