Friday, May 26, 2006

Death by a thousand cuts

Sometimes what starts as a great concept slowly becomes an idealess piece of miscommunication not even fit to be placed in free community press. A larger typeface here, italicized word there, slightly bigger logo, less image to make way for useless copy (demanded by legals), slight change to the headline, decision to go stock shot and not pay a photographer etcetera etcetera. It’s known as ‘death by a thousand cuts.’ But, this doesn’t just apply to the concept itself, it also reflects what happens to a team’s enthusiasm for a project…and I’m talking about all involved agency-side.

The brief

Emotional status: Optimistic

All involved are generally enthused; sometimes you even see genuine passion. They’re all looking forward to working on something new (no matter how big or small), and want to crack the brief with an impressive, original solution.


Emotional status: Relief

Post-presentation, confidence remains that the concept will be produced, un-harmed. Tough questions have been fielded, and answered. The client seems happy, so commonly agency staffers head to the pub, relieved.

Revision 1

Emotional status: cooperative

Some changes are conceded, others are fought for. All in all, the concept remains intact, and an execution still to be proud of.

Revision 2

Emotional status: belligerent

The changes previously fought against, are back again. This time, they must be changed. This is the point in the process when all hell breaks loose in the agency. Lots of shouting, lots of fuck offs and lots of anger at the clients stupidity. This is the stage at which a suit should never, ever suggest a creative is being ‘precious’. And vice versa, a creative should never suggest the suit hasn’t gone into battle. This is where the idea is raped.

Revision 3

Emotional status: disbelief

This round, the changes defy logic. All involved are stunned, literally. You’ll often hear cautiously stated “Is this a joke?”.

Revision 4

Emotional status: apathetic

The changes being requested now are simply outrageous. But given the idea was destroyed two versions ago, fighting against these changes (usually from a client’s legal department) is futile, and a waste of energy. “Fuck it. Just give them what they want”.


Emotional status: disgust, yet some what liberated

“Get this fucking piece of shit out of my sight. It’s embarrassing, and I rather forget the whole sorry episode. And no, I'm not putting my signature on it."

The sting

Just when you managed to file the memory under ‘suppressed’, a strange sickness comes when you’re chatting to a friend and they say “Hey, I saw a Brand X ad the other day, is that one of yours?”

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