Creative Corner: Technology Is Great
A Hurdle for New Creative
Technology helps creative folks get everyday work done, but it can be a barricade when they present new creative ideas. In a quick and informal survey, I learned many agency people started noticing this barricade a few years back, and it seems to be getting worse.
Here’s what seems to happen. (Remember, this is only about new creative ideas.) A client sends a brief to an agency, and both parties talk about it over the phone, sometimes in person, more often just e-mailing back and forth. The creative folks have their own internal meetings and come up with a dozen or more ideas. In most places, they winnow them down to three, then they write the copy and comp the layouts. An account person e-mails PDFs of the comps to the client.
In 1998, agency folks made folding comps and brought them to a meeting. Often, they had already held several working meetings before anyone put pencil to paper. At the presentation, the agency people would “sell” each approach before showing it. They’d review the brief, remind all of the target audience description, go over the research, present their rationales, and actually show how the piece worked physically.
They’d see their clients’ reactions. They’d hear the different initial reactions in the clients’ own voices and they’d be part of the clients’ group dynamics as they reacted.
Bottom line? The agency controlled the situation right up to the presentation of the actual work and was there to answer questions, deal with even the tiniest pushback, and work with the client to make even a great piece better.
Now, though the account person sends a cover e-mail letter with the attached PDF, most clients just click right through to the work. Some print it out (usually in black and white, untrimmed, unfolded and often the wrong size.) Others see it only on screen. Most will review a PDF in isolation, react according to their own personal preferences, and forget that they’re probably not in the target audience.