A Casting Call For Account Advisors

Ernie Schenck turned his CA column over to Neil French this issue. The results are hilarious and didactic.

There’s a Confucian saying that “he who asks humbly teaches how to refuse.” Well, “submitting” ads for approval is demanding refusal plus a damn good hiding, in my view.
And while we’re meandering down this side-road, why do agencies bang on about “serving” their clients? (Account people are in “client service” in most set-ups.) Servants are useful but not essential, can be changed at will, and treated with condescension or brutality, according to whim. They are not the folk one turns to for advice, or help in adversity. And you take care to pay them as little as possible. Is it any wonder that so many agencies not only lose money, but are roundly despised?
Next time you see the agency credentials PowerPoint, strike out every “serve” you see, and substitute “advise.” You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your own self-worth, for a start.

French also tells of the time he clocked a client and retained the account to boot. Heady stuff.
[update] Ignacio Oreamuno of I Have An Idea reminds us that Mr. French and his British accent will be performing live in Toronto on October 6th. If that won’t do, this video, which is appropriately long on copy, might tide you over.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.