When an ad agency gets a new client, a lot of people swing into action. Account managers assess the brand, competition, positioning, and strategy. The media department finds target audiences. And the creatives, well, just what are they DOING back there with that loud music and riotous laughter? Scott G tells all.

Scott G making a client presentationIn the music business, I have several highfalutin’ titles: composer, producer and publisher. But in the world of advertising and marketing, while I prefer to be called a “consulting creative director,” people call me the copywriter.

Fortunately, I often get to create ads with a great graphic designer named Phil Hatten. Between the two of us, we’ve helped sell millions of dollars’ worth of financial products, automobiles, clothing, healthcare services, computer systems, entertainment, and food items.

“But what is it that you actually do?” we are sometimes asked, usually when discussing our fees.

A Confession
Okay, here’s the deal about people in the creative department. What we do is amazingly simple. All that happens is this:

1. We begin with a blank computer screen.

2. We put in some words and images.

3. And then we’re done.

That’s all there is to it.

Oh, I Almost Forgot
Just a couple things you need to consider about the process utilized by copywriters and art directors . . . Remember the “words and images” from point # 2, listed above? Good. Here’s what those words and images must do:

* catch your eye
* motivate the proper response
* improve a company’s image
* sear the brand name into your brain

Suddenly, what we accomplish takes on a significance that may not have been readily apparent to many of you.

Worst Case Scenario
Sometimes, everything we do to build your brand and increase your sales must be accomplished with “no budget” and completed “ASAP.”

Too many times, some or all of what we’ve created must be “changed,” “revised,” “tweaked,” “altered,” “amended,” or otherwise transmogrified because “it didn’t test well.” Or because “the focus group didn’t get it.” Or because “the client’s spouse didn’t like the color.” Or just “because.”

Different creative teams handle this in different ways. Some tell dumb client and/or dumb account manager jokes. Others create scatological versions of the ads (dangerous in this age of YouTube).

I try to keep my anger from taking tangible form. In private, I read aloud from Roget’s Thesaurus entry 471, “Fool,” with all the lovely and fitting terms such as jackass, schmuck, clown, buffoon, sop, lunatic, chump, boob, klutz, dingbat, jerk, goof, schlemiel, dolt, dunce, dullard, idiot, ninny, dimwit, lamebrain, dummy, blockhead, simpleton, imbecile, moron, and many more.

Attempting to Answer Client Needs
Faced with odd ad requests, Phil and I sometimes do two versions of the assignment: one that we know will work, and another that reflects what the client (or the ad agency) asked for. That way, even if the less effective idea is selected, at least we know we tried to give them something good.

The Most Important Creative Act
Separating the true professional from the dangerously psychotic individual, good creatives have the ability to suppress the urge to kill when asked to make the idea smaller and the logo bigger.

And really, that’s the greatest thing we creatives do. You should thank us for it.

[tags]G-Man, Gman, gman marketing, Scott G, Communication Nation, advertising, marketing, ad rants, creatives[/tags]