This is one of the famous quotes from William Bernbach who was responsible for creating many dramatic changes in the advertising industry after World War II. His campaigns were so successful that they are still cited today. Learning from this, is it then the agency or the client’s fault when so many “me too” advertising campaigns are produced every day? I say it’s the agency. They are supposed to be the professionals and advice a client properly. If a client says “I want”, the agency should say “You need”. So what if the client insists? Then you have a choice. Drop the client or do the work. Want to do the work anyways? Well then another quote comes to mind: “Don’t tell my mother I work in an advertising agency – she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.”.
I understand that many agencies do the work anyways because of the economy and that they really need the cash, but shouldn’t they be more honest and maybe even invest in better creatives? In advertising like any other industry there are good creatives and a lot of not-so-good ones. Working with good teams makes a big difference for clients and their bottom line. Unfortunately I have experienced many times that a client is shown the “A-team” in initial meetings, but when it really comes down to it, it is the “B-team” who does all the work. William Bernbach said it so well; “An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.” Therefore it is ultimately the agency’s responsibility to provide the right resources to create advertising that is different and makes the client stand out in the crowd.