Where Are All the Courageous Clients?

I was chatting with a friend of mine over lunch the other day—he’s a senior creative in an integrated advertising agency (brand and direct)—and we were asking ourselves: “Where are all the courageous clients?”

  • Where are the clients that aren’t afraid to take risks—at least creatively?
  • Where breakthrough results originate from innovative strategy and provocative creative—and not a re-hash or incremental tweak to a tired control?
  • Where tomorrow’s ad campaign is designed with the consumer or customer first in mind—not the CEO, CMO or some other elder statesman with purse strings?
  • Where agencies are treated as consultative partners—and the advertising product reflects true collaboration that generates excitement?
  • Where advertising’s Golden Age returns, where creative brilliance—advertising that works—returns to the mantle it once held.

There’s certainty among us that such clients exist. (Even he admitted he has some in his mix.) It’s just that not all the new business pitches these days are with brands that are ready to fly among the clouds. Taking the safest route may win the business, but trying to be safe all the time is so boring—and keeps everyone sadly on the ground all the time.

Judging the Direct Marketing Association International ECHO Awards every year, as I so enjoy doing, really gives me a superb perspective on who’s creating magnificent advertising—both here at home and (often) overseas.

There’s still time to make that ECHO Award deadline this year, now extended to May 28 (Wednesday this week): http://www.dma-echo.org/.

A helpful video for last-minute entering tips—from the Judges themselves:

There’s still time to prove to the world—there really are courageous clients (and the agencies that support them).

Marketing Sustainably: What's Going on Beyond and Beneath the Green? A blog posting questions, opportunities, concerns and observations on sustainability in marketing.

Chet Dalzell has 25 years of public relations management and expertise in service to leading brands in consumer, donor, patient and business-to-business markets, and in the field of integrated direct marketing. He serves on the Direct Marketing Association International ECHO Awards Board of Governors, as an adviser to the Direct Marketing Club of New York and Direct Marketing Idea eXchange, and is a former member of DMA's Committee on the Environment and Social Responsibility, where he led the Marketing & Communications Public Outreach Strategy Working Group (2005-2012).

Chet co-developed the first professional certificate program in environmentally responsible marketing within the United States. He also served on the United States Postal Service Greening the Mail Task Force (2007-2010), and led its Life Cycle of Mail Subcommittee. He loves UConn Basketball (men's and women's) and Nebraska Football (that's just men, at this point), too!

Email Chet below, or reach him at Twitter or LinkedIn.

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