CLIENT: “I don’t like the type.”
ME: “What don’t you like?”
CLIENT: “I don’t like how it goes all to one side.”
ME: “You mean ranged left.”
CLIENT: “Yes, yes, arranged left.”
ME: “How do you want it?”
CLIENT: “To be the same on both sides.”
CLIENT: “I don’t have to justify anything for you. I own the fucking company.”
Clients From Hell is a funny crowdsourcing initiative aimed to collect testimonies of ad agencies, creatives, designers or freelancers working in commercial communications. Individuals can share their experiences about the day-to-day life with clients and prospects. The followers of this community can even rate the posts so ultimately all the testimonies compete in popularity.
It´s true that this site is kind of virtual bar where all the colleagues of this sector can catch-up in a free ambient, talking about the topics and stereotypes on the relationship client-agency. Sure that many of the facts and histories are quite exaggerated, and sure as well that the spirit of this site is wrapped by that saying of the evil of many is the consolation of fools.
It is unfair to talk about this issue in general terms. There are out there professionals with great skills and capabilities to manage the agencies hired or approached with a very good degree of technical performance and with outstanding abilities to governing their partners-suppliers-vendors. They are aware that this is the best way of making the most of the services contracted in return of the investment made in terms of value for the brand and the company they are working for. Sure they deserve another alternative community, set up by all us, and called Clients From Heaven.
It´s interesting to discover that these surrealistic situations – like the one opening this post – are a common denominator at different parts of the world. An India based ad agency, called Pixel Fox Studios, has created a series of infographics in order to point and spread the word about bad practices; and it is communicated with sarcastic humor under the hashtag #ClientBargains. Better to laugh than to cry!
I always thought that this deep economic and systemic crisis we have been facing during the last eight years was going to bring good outcomes at its end: better efficiency and more productivity due to the Enterprise Darwinism experienced to adapt and survive in the turbulence and final resultant scenario. A change of paradigm with new actors, and – most important – with new ways of doing things: from just cosmetic to authenticity, from a hierarchical way of managing people to horizontality, from obscurantism to transparency, from bold ignorance to humility, from the unbalance in interchanging value to true and fair reciprocity. I am afraid that I was wrong in my prediction…or was it just a kid dream?
Advertising Agency Zulo Alpha Kilo, based at Toronto, has decided to denounce and show abusive and bad practices that, in some cases, are behind agency pitches and request for proposals. Among other activities, they have made and broadcasted a great video that counts so far 1,6 millions views at YouTube. With an amazing creative approach, the core message – pull the leg – is conveyed through an analogy of the process of hiring the professional activities of an ad agency using another day to day markets: a personal trainer, a cafeteria, a pizzeria, an architect study, etc. And this is not just a video, it´s a call to action to all the sector claiming that it´s about time for all us to say no to speculation in contracting our services: #saynotospec is kind of manifesto.
And this call to action is really welcome. Cause from this side, the one of the ad agencies, we do have at least fifty percent of responsibility. At the end of the day all parties are loosing. Too much not differentiated and commodity offer, too much price orientation cause numbers must match the forecasts at any cost, too much attitude of servility, too much short term vision.
It is said that respect is earned and not imposed. And I absolutely agree with this statement.
Why don´t we all parties have another think about it?
By Ángel González