Make advertising fun again, for everyone
by Lucas van Vuuren (@lucasvan) When did advertising become hard work? When did we start feeling like victims in our industry? When did we start feeling like we just couldn’t get our clients to buy in on our ideas? When we tried to do it in isolation, that’s when.
Creative work is a consultative process. If your client enjoys the creative process and the process is fun, the work will show it. This doesn’t happen halfway through a campaign; you need to start with the brief. Is the process fun and engaging, and challenging? Is there ownership and collaboration with the client? Is the client emotionally invested and excited?
Everyone needs to be on board and aligned in terms of where the campaign is going.
Take it step by step. Involve the client as much as possible. They know their brand or product best, and it’s their ad. We are the people making a shared vision a reality.
Don’t get me wrong; honest opinions are valid and debate is healthy. Have conversations; unpack the concerns. Don’t just agree to have conversations — it’s possible and, wait for it, they’re really constructive, too.
Get your clients involved to a point in the execution process. I don’t mean putting them behind a camera or working on call sheets and treatments, but make the process less intimidating for your clients and make it an environment they’re going to be comfortable in.
You would never feel 100% confident sitting with your clients’ shareholders discussing profit share and dividends. Remember, the execution process is something we’re trained to work in, so help them feel comfortable in the process, too, by explaining what’s going on and why certain things are done. It may be overwhelming to a few clients at first but, if you do this from the get go, it gets easier and easier every time because there’s an understanding of the process.
If people usually spend their time in boardrooms and offices, then going to edit suites or creative spaces may be an “out my comfort zone” experience. If we’re not cognisant of this, it may feel like a clash of the creative vs the client. Take the friction out of the experience; make it constructive.
Once everything is made and it’s out there, as the agency partners, we need to be adaptable and be interested in the results. Take time to review the response from the public and try to understand their feedback. Many clients take a leap of faith with their agencies; we need to support them in return.
If the commercial stars align and the public like what you had to offer, it’s simple.
Adapt. Learn. Adapt.
Life’s too short to not enjoy your job, so make the process fun and collaborative.
Lucas van Vuuren (@lucasvan) began his career in design but made the switch to art direction to satisfy his love of storytelling, film and big concepts. With 15 years’ experience in the ad industry — 10 of those at The Jupiter Drawing Room, where he’s currently ECD — he’s worked at some of the best agencies in the country, and has won a raft of awards, nationally and internationally.
“Motive” is a by-invitation-only column on MarkLives.com. Contributors are picked by the editors but generally don’t form part of our regular columnist lineup, unless the topic is off-column.
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