CAMPAIGN DIARY: I’M ONLY A PUNTER BUT ..

Have you noticed how bad some photography is nowadays? Some of the UK’s top household names have ads and mailers that wouldn’t have got past a junior art buyer ten years ago. (What’s an art buyer, I hear you cry?)

Have you noticed how bad some photography is nowadays? Some of the

UK’s top household names have ads and mailers that wouldn’t have got past

a junior art buyer ten years ago. (What’s an art buyer, I hear you

cry?)



I’ll make no bones about it. I’m a photographer from the good old days,

and I dream fondly of when agency messengers arrived with magic marker

layouts, beautifully presented on foamcore.



It used to cost a fortune to hire us, of course, but the premise was that

if an advertiser’s products looked better than those of the competition,

he sold more and got to charge more for them.



Today, there are thousands of photographers, so someone you paid pounds

3,000-a-day for in ’85 is now often available for half that price.



Are art buyers allowed to make the most of that?



No, they’re frequently reduced to the role of a dogsbody to a teenage

account handler who has pounds 200 to spend on a picture of a wacky

telephone, a wacky alarm clock or a pair of scissors and a wacky dotted

line. Art directors are frequently demoted to the status of layout boys,

the account man can’t tell good from bad and the client’s often reporting

to a committee of accountants anyway.



All this leads to the standing order of the day: don’t buy smarter, buy

cheaper. And the end result?



Top supermarket ads that look like a discarded pile of Polaroids. Flowers

Direct leaflets that look like a compost heap, and financial ads that look

like, er ... financial ads. Certainly nothing there to warrant a price

premium.



No wonder the retail sector’s depressed - I know I am.



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