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The Account Executive In The Client Agency Set-up Is Much Th...

Thus, the role of the account executive in the client/ agency set-up is much that of a buffer. He is the fall-guy. But this is a function not without its value. It saves direct confrontation, personal abrasion and a whole lot of account-changing.

The system is essentially pragmatic and in business terms, pragmatism wins over idealism every time. Farther up the pyramid are account executives' bosses, the account directors.

These fellows and ladies monitor the executive's work on given accounts and do their best to appear to know what's going on when they see the client for lunch four times a year. It's their job, also, to make sure that the client pays his due bills. Account directors are the agency's digital marketing people proper; and I have a grudging respect for them. Onward and upward, we come to the media planners whose job it is to select the right media, i.e.

the correct market-place and audience for the product we want to shift. Media people are learned people and extremely adept at buying space and air-time at preferential rates. I know of one highly respected media man who makes more money for his agency, via wheeling and dealing, than any other ten people on the payroll.

Be friends with media wallahs; they can make the copywriter's life so much easier. Around about the middle of the pyramid come the traffic and production teams - the characters who are constantly in your hair, demanding this, that and the other to unreasonable deadlines. They chase you up, they harass, they won't stop until they get the piece of work in question; then they bustle away to shade in the blanks on their progress charts.

In a large agency, you will find intermixed with the foregoing departments, a myriad of branch functions, i.e. experts on below-the-line promotions, experts on recruitment advertising, experts on print-buying and experts who seem to do nothing in particular, but are always in evidence at management meetings. These faceless ones are invariably the hatchet men, the horsemen of the apocalypse who descend upon the unwary late on an afternoon brandishing employment cards, and termination cheques. Their war cry is often: 'Look, it's nothing to do with me, old chap.

Sorry and all that. They are letting you go. Please clear your desk'. The foregoing is no more than a general picture of agency structure. More important for our purposes is the format of the creative department itself.

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