Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's a Funny Old Agency Life

The latest post from the Ad Contrarian about success and reacting to post-success dips got me thinking about much like football management working with bad clients can be.

Take Roman Abramovich. He has hired and fired 5 managers in about 7 years trying to achieve his aim of winning the Champions League. Yet I have no doubt whatsoever that had he kept manager number 2 (Jose Mourinho) he would have won it at least once by now.

Does that sound familiar? An agency doing good work and heading in the right direction, only to be fired or chucked into a re-pitch for no good reason? A new marketing director taking over and wanting to stamp their authority? Either way the work gets changed, the ideas diverted, the strategy altered and instead of building up a long term result they get stuck with short term spikes and no loyalty.

Mind you. At least there is a reason for those sackings. You could be like poor Chris Hughton, doing an excellent job in difficult circumstances and let go on a whim by the shambling management team that you just dug out of a Championship sized hole. As thanks for the good work you get treated like an inconvenience and kicked out halfway through a campaign where you were doing well.

Of course it would be bad if like poor Everton fans, you had to put up with all your best players being sold, and then no money being spent on new ones. Imagine having your budget cut in half and then being expected to get the same results. How bad must it be to be trying your best to make communications work, but there is never enough budget to actually achieve anything. I wonder who will be the one to get fired?

Still, it could be worse. Abramovich is reported to constantly meddle in the team affairs, undermining the manager and making decisions for him. Wouldn't it be terrible if bad clients did that to ag...oh. Next time you get given a gigantic chunk of bad copy or a list of features, or are given some bad art direction you can't refuse, that's what we call a Torres.

Thank goodness very few clients are like this though. When you think about who you could be working for, it makes you better appreciate those you already are.

Disclaimer: I am West Ham fan who lives near Old Trafford.

P.S.: I also have sympathy for the poor client that hired what they thought was a good agency and ended up with Steve McLaren (Sorry Rob C)

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