Sunday, 5 October 2014

We get paid to make choices

Before all staff emails, there were all staff memos. I remember them well from my time at Saatchi in London. I've even kept a few, because they felt important, worth hanging onto. If they were written by one of the creative directors, they would be as carefully and brilliantly written as a long copy ad.

This 20 year old memo from the late David Abbott to all the staff at AMV has recently surfaced on the Creative Review. It's well worth a read as it makes an important point that is even more relevant today, I think, than in the 90s. The point is about ownership and responsibility, suggesting that one creative team should own a project and agencies should be focussing on quality rather than quantity of creative ideas.

Now, I think it may be unrealistic to go back to the days of taking the brief from the client and not letting him or her into the creative process at all until a few weeks later when THE one idea is presented with a flourish. But I do wonder if all the endless tissue meetings and briefings and rebriefings and presentation of ideas in double figures - and at the extreme, throwing the whole thing out to crowdsourcing - mean that we lose focus and quality.

In the end, it is about responsibility. To quote David Abbott: "the person who owns a house tends it more lovingly than the person who rents it."

It's all about making decisions and being able to fight for the choices we have made.

As David Abbott says, that's what we get paid for.

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