CLOSE-UP: ON THE CAMPAIGN COUCH ... WITH JB

Q: A top client of ours is a major sponsor of a rugby tournament

and quite frankly I loathe the game. I have to endure endless days in a

hospitality tent making small talk about a game I neither understand nor

care for. Everyone seems so brutish. I am a ballet man myself.



A: I don't think you've given a moment's thought for your client. How do

you suppose this red-blooded rugger bugger feels about having to spend

endless days in a hospitality tent listening to an obsessive balletomane

wittering on about a game he not only fails to understand but actively

loathes?



Do a deal. Promise you won't expect him to come to Covent Garden if you

don't have to go to Twickenham. Just make sure the ads are good.



Q: I am an account director and have just presented a new print campaign

to my client. The award-winning, senior creative team who did it have

gone on holiday, telling me before they left that on no account were we

to accept any changes to their layout and that our creative director

(who's terrified of losing them, as they're the best team he's got) has

agreed. The client has now told me that we have to make the logo much

bigger. The copy date is tomorrow. My senior director is off sick. What

shall I do?



A: Sorry to be a bit late answering this one. If the IPA still ran

examinations, this is exactly the sort of question they should set.

Forget your familiarity with BARB or BRAD: the combination of

experience, wit and downright deviousness required to emerge

triumphantly from this kind of predicament is precisely what marks out

the world-class agency executive.



Do let me know how you did it.



Q: I'm an account director at a major international agency. I'm always

under pressure to cross-sell other parts of the group to clients, but I

am reluctant to do so as I am worried they'll screw up and the client

will blame me. What should I do?



A: This would make another good IPA exam question. The answer (which

will come as something of a thunderbolt to an experienced practitioner

such as yourself) is: play it absolutely straight.



The phrase that sticks in your gullet is "cross-sell". Quite right; so

it should. "Sell" is a dodgy word in this context.



Good advertising campaigns should never be "sold". Account executives

like using the word because it suggests they've done something immensely

difficult and courageous, thus earning the rare gratitude of the

creative team. Good advertising campaigns should be exposed, explained

and allowed to linger a little in the client's mind. Occasionally, of

course, a little added conviction may be called for - but they should

never be sold.



And what is true for advertising is true for the companies in other

parts of your group.



Get to know them. Buy them a beer. Ask to see their work. Volunteer to

show them yours. Make a note of both the sane and talented and the empty

shysters: as in your own company, there'll be some of both.



Then talk to your clients. Remind them of the growing value of

integrated communications. (As you know, there are a dozen or so fancy

proprietory names for this: my advice is to stick to the generic.)



Tell them that there are interesting people with complementary skills in

other parts of your group who you know and could work with very

fruitfully on your client's behalf.



Suggest that they meet them - and at least two of their competitors.



Keep out of all the meetings yourself.



If your client chooses to work with your sister company - and they often

will - it won't be because you sold them but because the client wanted

them.



Very sorry, very boring, dead obvious, really - next?



Jeremy Bullmore is a former chairman of J. Walter Thompson, a director

of Guardian Media Group and of WPP, and the president of NABS. He writes

a monthly column for Management Today. A more serious look at problems

in the workplace, it both inspired and complements On the Campaign

Couch.



Address your problems to him at Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London

W6 7JP. Or e-mail campaign@haynet.com.



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