Nov 21, 2007

Rush, Need & Emergency

If ever three words have been abused in the advertising dictionary within an office environment, it’s these threes words. Clients, executives and higher ups alike use these words and inject real gusto so you really think there’s a real sense of urgency in regards to something that’s related to your work. Ads are a whole other ballpark and a future post will be dedicated to the words that you see appearing over and over and over and over in advertising. For now though, lets focus on the office setting shall we?

The first word on the list is Rush. It’s placed first because it’s the one that’s most abused and is probably the most common in pretty much any office. The situation goes something like this:

Enter an executive (lets say it’s a guy for this example). His brow is contorted, he has a look on his face that is bent between needing to take a shit, wanting to vomit and focus. He’s got that Olympic walk to his strut and he looks like he means business. He swings round your cubicle, takes approximately 3.4 seconds to catch his breath and let his physical state sink into the mind of a creative and begins the conversation with a heavily breathed: “We’ve got to talk.” He takes ten minutes to explain the urgency of a job, that it’s needed STAT, ASAP, or RUSH. Please make note of the use of these acronyms for further discussion below. You’re given the task, it needs to be done right away, so you drop what you’re doing and like a cute little team player, you do it RUSH. You’re not really happy with the layout or the copy or both but you settle, hand the job in and pat yourself on the back for a job well done and having taken one for the team.

Fine. So you just happen to chance upon that same executive’s desk the next week. You don’t find him, but you do find a peculiar piece of paper poking out beneath a rubble of jobs. That I need to say it’s your layout is the same than having to identify someone you know at a morgue. Obviously less dramatic, harrowing and unnerving, but it does manage to upset you enough to ask the exec what happened with that layout, to which they might reply one of these three options:

“Oh that! The client hasn’t had the chance to go over the artwork yet.”

“I’ve been meaning to present it, but as you see, I’m swamped.”

“What layout?”

Sure there are others, but these could very well be quotes from my professional life. As for the acronyms shared above, might I be so kind as to elaborate on what they stand for.

STAT= Stupid Time-consuming Artwork Trample
ASAP= Actually Senseless Asshole Pressure
RUSH= Really Unnecessary Stress-inducing Hoax

The second word to be evaluated here would be Need. As in: “The client ‘needs’ this or the client ‘needs’ that or we ‘need’ to have this done by tomorrow. Let me clarify the word need a bit for you.

1. A requirement, necessary duty, or obligation: There is no need for you to go there.
2. A lack of something wanted or deemed necessary: to fulfill the needs of the assignment.
3. Urgent want, as of something requisite: He has no need of your charity.
4. Necessity arising from the circumstances of a situation or case: There is no need to worry.

Now let me explain why none of these definitions fit what you deem a ‘need’.

1.) A campaign or an ad is not a requirement, in all honesty we don’t have to do an ad and last I checked, there is no obligation for the creation of advertising other than the bullshit sense of responsibility we instill in ourselves. People, it’s advertising, we’re not saving lives and please don’t come with the bullcrap that “we could save lives” with the right campaign.

2.) A client doesn’t lack an advert to sell their product. With the correct channels of distribution and dedicated sales people, they could manage some type of success and have more than enough to eat.

3.) There’s nothing genuinely urgent of this want. It’s a client whim that needs to be satisfied. Please don’t try to explain why we need to make an ad in a day because last I checked, you can’t save a company with one ad. Well maybe you could, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t have 4 hours to do the ad and there was a brief explaining the dire situation instead of a frapuccinoed exec going bonkers because the client threw yet another bitch fit.

4.) Necessity… key word here and it arises from circumstances of a situation. Like I said above, if there’s a situation, fine, lets get cracking. But 99.999999999999% of the time that isn’t the case. Sorry, that’s my take on it and I don’t think I have to back off with all I’ve endured in what I’ve had to deal with.

When you boil things down, odds are fairly against there being a genuine “need” for an advert and one that has to be done in such a RUSHed manner (please refer above to my take on the meaning of the word RUSH).

Lastly, we have the word “emergency”. In runs an exec with the world on her shoulders, she has the look of someone who had to put the terrorist level at RED or sound the alarm for DEFCON 1. “We have an emergency… our sales our under.”

Let me let that phrase sink in for a bit………………………………………….

Sales are under…………………………

That’s an emergency?……………………

Right. Last I checked an emergency referred to an accident, a heart attack, a pregnant mother whose water just broke, a burglary, a fire (forest or domestic), a drowning baby, or anything that doesn’t have to do with money be it making more, losing tons or not generating enough to get the boss a new yacht. Nothing work related in our profession shall EVER be deemed an emergency because there is no such thing as an emergency that can be cured by an ad or a campaign. There are situations that can be helped, issues brought to discussion and opinions that can be influenced. There are no emergencies solved via advertising and if there is, odds are you come upon this maybe once in a lifetime (I’m leaving that tiny slit open so I don’t fall into the realm of admitting absolutes).

So next time you are faced with someone who uses this vocabulary, feel free to refer them to this post so they can learn to express themselves correctly and not be so eager to feel important with what they do. After all, it’s just advertising.


RestrictionsApply said...

Like my good friend/ex-boss once said, "Don't confuse urgent with important."

I've discovered that "urgent" actually means "senseless", becuase if something really is important, then there's always time.

Make the logo bigger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Make the logo bigger said...

That's only because AEs need to fill up their day and feel like they actually accomplished something. They do this by bugging the art department constantly, coming by and asking if you’re still on track to meet the deadline you told them you would not two hours earlier.

Of course there are deadlines to meet, I’m not saying otherwise, but if an AE keeps asking for status updates every minute just so they can feel comfortable, then they’ve only proven what they really are:

Spike strips on the road of creativity.

Sue London said...

I let my dad talk me into changing my major from marketing to accounting, but it looks like I might as well have stayed on track to work in advertising. I deal with the same idiocy, just replace advert with spreadsheet and campaign with report. At least advertising would have been sexy. No one thinks that accounting is sexy...

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