A: How can you tell if they're taking the piss, you ask? Well, try this simple test. Pushing your imagination to its outermost limits, how many credible alternatives - other than taking the piss - can you dredge up to explain why you should be required to dress up as a pig and oink to your client? Take your time, now. OK? So what's your total haul? Something under one, I rather fancy.
I'm afraid to say that, unless you pull yourself together extremely soon, you may find yourself with the doubtful distinction of being the world's oldest account junior.
Now another question. What do you think is missing in your relationship with your creatives? Very good, well done, got it in one: respect! The respect in which they hold you could fairly be described as limited. And the more you agree to oinking clients from the inside of your pig suit, the more limited it will become.
There is only one way for a junior account person to earn respect and that is to be good at something. So work out what you're good at and put it into practice. If you're not good at anything, apply for a job at a call-centre or settle for the pig suit.
Q: I'm a junior brand manager and a mate at an agency has told me of a vacancy in their account management department. Will I have more fun working for an agency than for a client?
A: Only if you're good at something. See above.
Q: I am a charity client and although my budget is modest my charity has a high media profile and is the sort of account an agency could really make its mark with. I am currently holding a review and some of the agencies are offering to do the work for free. It's very tempting, but how can I be reassured that I will get great work and not just be used as an opportunity to produce some high-profile but not necessarily effective work?
A: Here's a piece of priceless advice. Whether you're running Procter & Gamble or a tiny charity, never appoint an agency that has ever proclaimed in a press release that it's thrilled to have won the Burgrips account because of the opportunity it presents to do mould-breaking, category-stretching, envelope-pushing, award-winning work. This is an unmistakable if inadvertent admission on the part of the agency that they and you have two quite different sets of ambitions. There will be trouble ahead.
For the same reason, never accept an agency's offer to work for you free.
You instantly forfeit the right to punish them for late delivery, for postponing meetings, for irrelevant and self-indulgent advertising.
Hire them to make your charity richer - and pay them to do so. If, as a consequence, they make themselves a reputation, that's just fine. But it's not what you're paying them for.
Q: Simon Kershaw and Phil Keevil write: We think we know what makes a good agency managing director, creative director and planning director. But what about chairman/person? What are the qualities they need? (And how do you think Mr Beattie is getting on in that role?)
A: Dear Phil and Simon, thank you for your kind enquiry. A chairman should look like a chairman and be able to command respect while saying nothing. I'm afraid I'm not in a position to tell you if Mr Beattie matches these modest requirements.
- Jeremy Bullmore is a former chairman of J. Walter Thompson and a director of WPP. He also writes a monthly column for Management Today. A compilation of his business advice, Another Bad Day at the Office?, is published by Penguin, priced £5.99. Address your problems to him at campaign@ haynet.com or Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP.