The Week: Best of the blogs - Advertising by committee

You are invited to solve a problem of some kind for a prospective client. You and a group of other people put a few weeks' unpaid work and quite a few tens of thousands of pounds into coming up with a solution.

You present. It goes well. Seven weeks later you get a phone call. If you're lucky, this is to tell you that you've lost. If you are unlucky, you hear you are "down to the last two". This means you spend another 200 unbillable hours at the client's behest, while their procurement department treats you as their sex-toy. Before ringing you to tell you you've lost.

Six months pass. Nothing. Another three months. Not a dicky-bird. And finally, you see it. A single ad. It's on a Tube card, or perhaps the side of a bus. It's crap.

This is not a frivolous point because if there is one thing that could make advertising more efficient, effective and creative, it's the one thing we never have the balls to suggest. Decision-making procedures at 50 per cent of all client organisations are dreadful, generating pointless and repetitive work to satisfy the demands of internal politics rather than the creation of brand value.

Pizza Hut was criticised for renaming a few branches as Pasta Hut. One criticism was more bizarre than most. "It's the sort of idea the chairman's wife would come up with." In fact, outside Utah and the Middle East, the chairman's wife has the perfect qualification for being a superb client. There's only one of them.


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