Creative Corner: Technology Is Great
... until it eliminates the human factor.
This past year, Mason & Geller relocated to Florida. Why’d we come? Well, we have clients down here, and I’m closer to my 93-year-old mom. We also cut our office overhead by about 70 percent. Then there’s the weather, the beaches and the laid-back lifestyle. Except for hurricanes, it’s been great. We all miss New York, but we’d be crazy to go back.
Why didn’t we make this move years ago? Simple. We didn’t have the low-cost technology—or the low-cost air travel—that lets us work in an out-of-the-way marina in Hollywood, Fla.
Now, with clients all over the country, we can easily reach out to them via the phone or e-mail for practically no cost at all. And we can fly to meetings for a few hundred dollars. It’s great.
Except for one thing (and it’s got to be driving creative people crazy).
Just five years ago we saw our clients at least once a week, sometimes every day. We’d talk about ideas in abstract and even develop campaigns on restaurant napkins. Now we have one client we’ve never actually met at all, and we see others once a month on average. If we lose the personal, face-to-face presentation and discussion of creative, we might lose something valuable. Here’s a true example.
Our creative director, Mike McCormick, once developed a great direct mail package he knew the client would never approve. So he brought tissues of about 20 rough layouts to a meeting. As he stood to present, he looked at the top tissue, shook his head sadly, crumpled it and tossed it into a wastepaper basket. He then spoke glowingly of the other 19 ideas while the client was riveted to the wastepaper basket. After the presentation, she asked why she couldn’t see the crumpled up idea. You can imagine what happened next. Mike dug it out, smoothed the tissue paper and … the client loved the idea. You can’t present an idea like that when you e-mail a pdf. It’ll get killed.