Sep 10, 2007

I'll give you another option

There’s a classic line said by clients that makes my teeth cringe and grate against each other every single time I have to hear it. Actually, it’s said by clients and the lower tier of AE’s alike.

“We like it a lot, but can you give us more options.”

If there’s ever been an award for wasting someone else’s time due to caprices and tingling gut feelings in regards to what a client wants, it definitely has to go to -AE’s (to not put all of you in the same boat) and it’s mostly to do because they don’t do the work and think three additional layouts can be hatched in a matter of an hour or two.

You can call this syndrome what you will but in a brief sum up, it’s the potpourri effect where the AE needs 6 options to make sure they can side with the client even if they like the worst of the lot and trust me, you know you’re going to hear lines like:

“I just can’t go with these few layouts.”


“I need to cover all the bases.”

Granted, one SHOULD cover all the bases and really you should have a well established strategy behind one execution. However, you DO NOT NEED 30 OPTIONS. Not 25, not 20, not 15, not 10 and note 5 though I’ve been taught that sometimes you can go with 5 if you have a good +AE on your side that will sell more than one or all of the layouts your team has designed. I’ve seen this happen and in these instances, I don’t mind giving the extra effort because the +AE will do the same. On the other hand, -AE’s will take ten layouts and barely sell one layout if that. By the way, I’m not talking about half ass layouts, I’m talking 10 options where at least three REALLY work. That’s when Creatives bitch and moan to ever higher degrees because we can’t hope with expending energy in vain while the –AE loses no sleep at all because that’s how they think the game has to be played.

Then you have the clients saying the same thing and it could be either of these two genres:

A.) A marketing middle-person. You know them and love them because they’re the ones that have to report to a boss whom is the person that makes the real decisions when in reality they simply serve as advertising buffers (liaisons as they would call themselves to sound important). They have no pull whatsoever in regards to their bosses opinion and are also there to make their bosses seem that much more important since there are people below them in the company hierarchy.


B.) The indecisive minutiae-fingering mole. These are the clients we detest because to them there is no big picture. Put the “wrong” font and he won’t like the whole layout and will ask for a total redesign when things could have been fine with some minor tweakage.

Of course there are more types of people that cause creatives to work overtime needlessly, but you could make a good case that these are some of the most notorious culprits.

As for justifications for the options, don’t hold your breath waiting for anything that makes sense. There are going to be a lot of ‘umms’, ‘wells’, ‘actuallies’ and ‘now that I think of its’. The worst part is that after a pattern is set, it’s going to be hella hard to get –AE’s or stupid clients to change their ways. Oh! And don’t get me started with adaptations because we all know it’s 100% necessary to see an unapproved layout adapted to flyer, banner, billboard, 8 x 10’s, 4 x 5, newspaper, magazine, black and white, spot color, full color etc. All of that is indispensable and completely necessary so we can show the client we mean business and that we don’t care if we keep slicing forests and wasting toner in vain.

So honestly, next time someone says that they need more options, just remember to let them know that suicide or talking to someone who gives a shit are two options that are ready and available any time they want to do something productive with their lives.


RestrictionsApply said...

"When you try to please everyone, you please no one". Fucking Warren Buffet, of all people, said this to the president of one his most successful companie, Gillette.

Purplespot said...

A good bunch of articles on this blog !!! Many interesting ones too !
Hit upon this one accidently ;)

( Wonder...why do things happen by chance....ahh, thats another story )

Keep posting..

joker said...

Will do my friend and glad you enjoy. This is our therapy and pretty much as long as we work in advertising we'll have to write posts to keep from going postal. Feel free to refer to anyone who might relate. Many cheer though.

Make the logo bigger said...

“We like it a lot, but can you give us more options.” (Which causes AEs to mutter this phrase and run crying to the CD: “I’m REALLY concerned about timing now,” all because they don’t ‘get it/see something they really like,’ causing them to once again go behind your back and call the client to push back the meeting because ‘the creative’s ‘not there’ yet–but they won’t use that phrase when speaking to the client because that would mean the blamethrower would hit them–no, they save the day as only they can and say “I just wasn’t happy with what I saw and didn’t want to show you something you didn’t like, so I sent the art department back to re-work it.” Yeah. You’re a hero alright.

Anyway, “We like it a lot” can be translated into a creative’s English any number of ways:

“We don’t know how to sell this.”

“I don’t get it.”

“I need something predictable.”

“Give me something the client asked for.”

Anonymous said...

You are so right. I have scented candles business where we do custom scents. We have over twenty scents and I still have people asking what are my other options. Geez!

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