Do not pretend that you know… It's an educated guess.An article about the lecture that was recognized as the best from Latvian Art Directors Club (LADC) last year. We had a great opportunity to hear Geoffrey Hantson from Belgium and agency Duval Guillaume. You probably know his most popular campaign - "push the button", but watch this:
I will be honest, I saw just half a lecture live and even that from the end of the auditorium, but afterwards I watched it recorded and I watched it twice! (Commercial break: become members of LADC and you will get access to video archive as well.) But already when watching it for the first time I knew that I want and I even have to share few things from Geoffrey's speech.:
1. Advertising is not a science and there is no need to pretend that you know what works and what does not.
“I often have the impression when I talk to advertising people you have got a market research, strategy and planning and clients and they all talk about our business as if it is science. It’s not science. We don’t know how people are going to react. Let’s be honest about it. We can try to avoid failure, kind of know how this is been done, but we don’t know, if it is going to work. So stop doing it as if it’s science. It’s and educated guess. And that is nothing more than this. You have to make your own truth.”
2. Forget about Big Idea. Today adaptation is everything - to specific medium, market, situation etc.…
“Forget about the big idea. I have the big idea!… The big idea today is the series of small ideas: you learn, you do, you adapt, you learn, you do, you adapt….”
“Everybody loves ideas as long as you adapt your ideas towards target audience.”
I personally have been in situations where one solution does not fit all communication channels, but client insists that we have to remain consistent, because we have one Big Idea carved in stone from which we can not deviate nor to the right nor to the left, because everybody must understand that we have one big campaign. That is completely wrong — because the communication channels have multiplied today and it would be a mistake to think that one idea solution is suited for all of them. Though we do need united strategy, concept and values.
3. Good cooperation and mutual trust between the agency and client is vitally important.
Client should be involved in process of creating idea from the very early stages, because it gives better results and as well it is really hard to reject something you have been part of from the very beginning. Otherwise agency alone invests hard work, long hours, creates everything, presents and then client does not like. And no one can blame him for that, because we all have different opinions, different perspectives as well as different imagination. So we need more cooperation to adapt to each other and create the idea that everybody likes.
“The remark that comes from the client is not necessarily a bad remark. Change client’s remarks in something that doesn’t harm the idea.”
“You have to trust me (Geoffrey) a little bit. I know a little bit more about the ideas than you do, because otherwise you would be me and I would be you. But you do know things that I don’t and I do know things that you don’t. That’s why we need to work together and that’s how we’ll probably make each other richer in our minds and in our valets.”
“And let’s accept each other failures.”
4. Usually it is useless to present to client many ideas, because most often the split will be like this:
1) Something the agency wants and believes in.
2) Something in between.
3) Something that client will want.
From my experience it seems that if there is one really good idea, you just know it. And agency goes with the confidence and presents it. If agency itself has more ideas to present it means that there is no full confidence in any of them and most often debriefing is needed or some information is missing. Or there has not been enough time to come to that right one.
5. And last but not least — Duval Guillaume agency does not participate in pitches with the ideas. Strategy, communication directions — yes. But not the ideas. Because to create an idea is like giving a birth to a child. And then you take that to the pitch next day and they say — „No, we do not like your child. He is ugly! Look, somebody else has better one!“
It is quit unbearable and as well I believe it is the choice to focus their best creative resources on existing clients both due to respect and emotional reasons.
This is it. Wanted to put it down on paper (so to say) so that a very interesting and valuable lecture is not lost in time.
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