When Bad Ideas Happen To Good Agencies

I had an interesting conversation with the Design Director at my agency today. She said she thinks the whole Apple iPhone price cut and rebate/apology to-do was completely and totally planned in advance.
Personally, I highly doubt it. I think Steve Jobs would’ve come off as a hero by announcing a rebate at the same time he announced the price cut. To do it on a stage in front of the whole world would’ve been the kind of theatrics he loves.
But I had a bigger question: Did anyone at Apple tell Steve before the fracas, “You know, we really need to do something for the loyal customers, they’ll be pissed.” Because from what I’ve read about Steve Jobs, he’s not the kind of person you say “That’s a bad idea” to. It’s kind of like saying that to a lot of agency clients. The consequences could be disastrous.
Have you ever told a client flat-out, in a client meeting or presentation in a roomful of people, that one of their ideas was bad?

It’s easy to say “give the client what they need, not what they want.” But it’s hard as hell to do it. If you want to keep your job, that is. Standing up to a difficult client is one of the few big risks you can take in the ad business–because you risk the chance of unemployment, foreclosure, divorce, bankruptcy, and your dog pissing on your leg in disgust.

I explore it more in my new column on Talent Zoo.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.