The Week: Best of the blogs - Don't always trust clients

I'd just started as a junior copywriter at BMP and an account man gave me a brief for a 30-second television commercial for Tower Pans.

So I went to the factory and talked to the people on the production line. Afterwards I talked to the R&D guys. They develop the product, so they know everything about how it's made, what it does and why. And they know about the competition.

Talking to them, I found nine points where Tower Pans were better made than anyone else's pans. So I wrote a commercial with a split screen showing two pans of boiling water on separate stoves.

Two women lift the pans off the stoves. The voiceover says: "Tower Pans have a much stronger welding system for our handles than other pans. One day, you may wish you'd bought Tower Pans."

At that point, the handle breaks off the pan on the left and we freeze-frame before the boiling water goes over the woman's legs.

I showed it to the client. He said: "You can't say that." I said: "Why not, it's true?" He said: "It can't be. All pans are the same."

You see, the person usually called the "client" is actually a marketing person. They know about marketing. This year they're selling pans. If they get a job at Vauxhall, next year, they'll be selling cars. If they get a job at Rowntree, the year after, they'll be selling sweets. They are experts at marketing, not experts in pans, cars or sweets.

If you want experts in those fields, you have to talk to the people who spend their life making them.

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