The Ad Contrarian recently posted on being a Happy Creative Director, and slightly pissed me off in the process. Here follows a hopefully coherent rant... more focused I should say, at people who aren't doing their job properly than the ad contrarians comments himself.
The main problem I have is that it seems to imply that planners (or commitees... strategy by commitee, god help us) are essentially creating useless stratgies that good creatives can ignore or do better than. It also suggests that many planners are simply creating strategy and staying happy with that, as if it doesn't matter what follows.
It bloody well does.
It doesnt matter how amazing your strategic insight is. If the ad is rubbish/not effective (delete as appropriate), and the client doesn't get some actionable (jargon apology) ideas, then it's useless. Not just ineffective or weak, totally fucking useless. It doesn't matter how brilliant your car's engine is, how good the handling is, how good the interior is, if it looks like a hideous box of tin then all that good stuff is wasted.
We are in advertising, not Business consultancy. A strategy serves two main purposes, to improve the clients business, and to help creatives make good work that is right for the brand. Why would we bother finding insights, looking at data, doing research, understanding the client, the market, the customers, the non-customers; if we can't a: Give the client something that helps their business and b: Give the creatives something accurate but inspiring to start the creative process. What state are some planning departments in when a CD says to effectively treat all strategy and insight with scepticism?
But when the creatives do come up with a better idea and insight; why does it appear that they struggle to get heard? A good planner should know good insight whether it comes from them, a creative, the CD, the exec or the receptionist. Yes it will be hard to change the strategy, but our job is to create the best strategy, the best work; and in the long term aren't we better to say (at reasonable points in the creation process) 'actually we've found something better'.
Perhaps it's naievity from being in adland less than a year. But it just feels that comments like this indicate a huge huge waste of planning talent. If this is the case is it any wonder that many creatives dislike us, and treat us with trepidation. I love my job, and no matter how much I like finding interesting and useful chunks of information; its the final ad, and the clients' results that are the purpose of it all. We have to work with creatives to make the best fucking work we can, as efficiently and insightfully, as a team, standing and falling, winning and losing together, otherwise why are we here at all?