Please The Customer And The Client Will Come Along

Mark Fenske speaking to his students at VCU Ad Center:

I’m concerned that you may make the mistake of thinking that work which “answers the client’s problem” as written in the brief is work that has done the job of advertising and is therefore good work. Answering the client’s problem is only part of the job a good ad does, and not at all the most important part.
If all you care about is the client, that’s who will listen. Care about the audience sitting out there more than the client and you’ll have a chance at connecting with that audience. Don’t, and you’re a shill, that’s all.

Naturally, this insight has been uttered before. Kirshenbaum and Bond made it a central theme in Under the Radar, for instance.

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 now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.