Picking Up The Pace

One of the things I’m constantly muttering to myself these days is how agencies and their clients need to speed up their creative development processes. Six months is a joke today, at least when it comes to digital. Six days is more like it. Of course, radical change doesn’t come easy.
Apparently, I’m not alone with this sentiment. Catharine P. Taylor also has some thoughts on it.

What I wish for the industry (in 2008) is that it accelerate its pace of change, and not necessarily by snapping up any shop that makes a claim to digital advertising expertise. (There was way too much of that this year. Way too many headlines about huge holding companies buying little digital something-or-others that no one has ever heard of.) In reality, the only way the pace of change will accelerate is for everyone in advertising to either change their mindsets or get out of the business. We all know that there are thousands of ad execs who find all of the changes to the advertising marketplace scary; all they really want to do is retire before the grim digital reaper comes and cuts them out of the business before their time.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I’ve got to disagree. Great ideas don’t happen, from brief to running, in six days very often.
    And trying to apply digital (blogging digital) timelines to every other medium is a mistake. Print, TV, radio and OOH haven’t gone away just yet.
    Six months is ludicrous, but I’ve never had that much time to do anything. And building giant sites and making online videos doesn’t happen overnight either.
    Unless you’re content with every brand having a blog and a couple of shitty flash banners and newspaper ads, then six days buys you just about fuck all.

  2. yikes,
    First, David never qualified anything with “Great ideas.” I would argue that most below-the-line efforts (a favorite term of David’s) go about six days. It’s the extreme difference between above-the-line and below-the-line. The truth is, above-the-line folks need to speed up their asses; however, below-the-line folks need to slow down before the crash-and-burn schedules (and mediocre results) start to adversely affect their bottom lines too. They need to stop and think—and strategize—and hopefully start to become more than executional vendors.

  3. Thanks, High Jive. I didn’t mean “six days” literally. I’m thinking about specifics from my own experience. Online trends come in and out of vogue so rapidly, that by the time a slow moving client is ready for it, the trend is over. For instance, anyone building a soc net for a client right now runs the risk of having it be a “so what?” at launch. But that would not have been true a year ago.

  4. Fair enough.
    Perhaps I’m just projecting from some unrealistic deadlines of late.
    I agree that “above the line” stuff gets drawn out ridiculously sometimes, though of late there has never been enough time to do anything right.

  5. Worker Bee says:

    In my creative dept. we’re usually expected to concept ads in a day, and entire new branding campaigns (including print, tv, radio, interactive, guerilla, etc) in a week, if we’re lucky. We’re expected to present at least 6 good solutions for each project, of which two or three will be chosen to show client. Each one of us is usualy juggling at least three different projects. And we have to do our own research and strategizing because our account team is too clueless and lazy to do it. Fortunately, or not, I’ve gotten pretty good at coming up with nice stuff in this time frame. I often wonder what i’d be able to accomplish in an agency that actually gave me a reasonable amount of time and support. Do they exist?

  6. @ Worker Bee –
    Yes, they exist.
    The good thing about doing things the way you do them is practice makes perfect. And concepting left and right, helps you stay in top shape.