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Some Outfits Are Famous For Being An Unyielding Bunch Of Diggers...

Certainly, some outfits are famous for being an unyielding bunch of diggers-in of toes, impassive turners of blind eyes and deaf ears. My own experience is that the majority of agencies, including some of the biggest, don't argue with their clients half enough.

They go through the motions, of course, but deep in the heart of the average agency chief is the belief, probably implanted at birth, that when it comes to the crunch the client really knows best about his advertising. It is his money, isn't it? Executives as a race, therefore, have an unenviable lot; they lead a harassed and hag-ridden life, badgered and kicked from all points of the compass. They are constantly haunted by the thought of all those pre-booked spaces in publications demanding to be filled by a certain date; and constantly frustrated in the filling of them by the unreasonable demands and continuing procrastination of the clients on the one hand, and the unreasonable attitudes and continuing procrastination of the creative mob on the other.

Morton's fork and Procrustes' bed had nothing on what the unhappy executive has to cope with. Can one wonder, therefore, that he grasps at any supporting straw? Or that he doesn't feel impelled to put on the whole armour of God in defence of every ad he presents? Copywriters and designers are a different breed. Not necessarily a more attractive breed - just different.

Unleash a copywriter on an unsuspecting client and he will defend the work he's done with a power of mind that would levitate tables. There is, undoubtedly, a simple explanation for this. If the copywriter concerned is any good, he will have put into any given piece of work a little of what passes for his soul; and no one takes a man's soul away without his kicking and scratching a little. Advertising is a funny business, because it isn't only a business'. Advertising, I hold, is half a business, quarter a profession and quarter an art.

The proportions may be debatable but the principle isn't. And it's the art bit that creative people feel strongly, possibly over-strongly, about and which clients tend to ignore.

Once, in my earshot, a client asked a designer for a few more specimens. What he meant was a few more rough layouts, or visuals. This in itself was bad enough, since the poor bloke had been up half the night producing the 'specimens' mentioned, but to hear it expressed in such jar and-litmus-paper terms brought the designer near to apoplexy. That he didn't have to stand trial for inflicting GBH is a tribute to my own quick-wittedness. In a flash, I had forced a stiff gin down his throat and changed the subject.

Manifestly, a client should leave the creation of his online advertising to the people he pays to create it; and if it doesn't get the results he's looking for all he has to do is change his agency to one that does. Were the same man to observe a dustman emptying his bin, he'd hardly be likely to ring him over and suggest a more efficient way of doing the job because, in all probability, he'd shortly be wearing a half-hundredweight of refuse. Yet this is precisely the sort of treatment that copywriters and designers have to put up with all the time. It isn't right, it isn't fair. Copywriters and designers reckon they can do their job better than anyone else - and ninety per cent of the time, they're right.

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