Aug 6, 2008

Do I smell a hint of shame?

I have been working on a billboard, and by working I mean getting revision after revision, for a full week. I have done almost 15 alternatives of the same shit. Every time I send something hoping for it to get approved, it comes back with another revision. And it isn't a "move this to the right" change. It's do the thing again. Since I honestly give a fuck because I get paid anyways, I decided to play along and see how many crappy revisions I can get on a simple fucking job.

Cut to this morning. I wake up late. I am suffering from the greatest ailment of them all: hangover. I had a romantic dinner at home and well, one thing led to another... let me rephrase that. One bottle of wine led to another, which led to Black Label on the rocks... Let's just say, I'm not in the mood of stupid revisions at 9:30 in the fucking morning.

Anyways, the point of the story is this: I thought yesterday night, when I sent in the last revision, that the piece would be approved. It couldn't be changed, since I had done everything they wanted. I get the call from the client. Oh, FYI, the client actually asked me to put the logo and the name of the product smaller. Hm. Interesting. I thought that billboards should have stuff nice and big so that when people drive by almost 70 miles per hour while texting, they at least see one damn thing of the billboard. Oh well.

Where was I? Oh, the call. So the chick calls me again, first thing in the morning. Riing. Riiiiiiiiiing...

"Yada, yada, yada... um... can you... change this and that?" Hm. What is this that I am hearing??? Oh... I can slightly hear it... oh yes, I can hear it now, perfectly. She was ashamed. She was so ashamed of her boss giving me revision after revision, I could hear it in her voice. This was truly amazing to me. At last, one client knew, deep in their heart, that they were wasting both my time and theirs and they actually felt bad about it. The thing is, the poor chick who has to call me is doing it because she has no option, she has to follow instructions and make 10 more changes today.

I actually felt bad for her. I said, don't worry, that's what we're here for. I took the changes, decided to do them hours later just for the kick of not doing something asap and sent the damn thing again. You know what? After 5 days, the damn thing is approved. I almost fainted. It is over.

Are clients aware of how stupid they look when they cannot figure out simple changes and have to change their minds every damn second? After a few years I have learned that 80% don't give a shit if I think that they are dumb like hell. In fact, they treasure their ability to revise the shit out of an ad. But today I saw someone that was truly mortified of another person's true ignorance.

That made me truly happy.


Jeff said...

I once had a POS job for coke that went 32 rounds before we got an approved layout. And at the end of it all the client was shocked at how high their bill was. Funny they didn't realize that when they call multiple times a day for weeks that more hours are spent. And more hours mean more money charged.

Warren said...

Are clients aware of how stupid they look when they cannot figure out simple changes and have to change their minds every damn second?

Short answer: No.

I'm the in-house artist for a healthcare facility, and I can assure you that stupidity is a condition which precludes self-identification.

Most galling is when those with absolutely no expertise in my field assume that expertise in their field somehow lends them authority to dictate how I should do my job.

So even in-house artists have to deal with in(s)ane requests that lead to a spiral of total stagnation.

On the plus side, as I continue to garner awards and heap up a bursting portfolio of successes, the objections and resistance seem to melt -- though there are, not surprisingly, committed holdouts to the "more is better, let's cram it with info, and revise it until it's deader than a tenderized horse" school of thought.

shaun. said...

1. "I had a romantic dinner at home and well, one thing led to another"
it happen to the best of us. Often.

2. i was actually listening in on a call (bc im a junior and not a real person) about my work which the client loved. but like your situation...he led us in the wrong direction and also apologized. my CD was pissed.

Joker said...

@ jeff: Happens every week.... logic seems to escape these fascinating beasts.

@ warren: Totally agree on the short answer and the extra couple of cents regarding shit clients who swear they know more about everything regarding your work than you do, then again, that's why I'm writing the 7 deadly sins. Fucking assholes.

@ shaun: Clients aren't people either, don't feel too bad. At least you're human, they're just loosely juxtaposed DNA strands that happened to fertilize an innocent egg.

@ Me: Shame from a client? No darling, that was a ruse to get you to do the changes without a fight. I have ceased to trust most clients and only those that invite me on shoots and play creative footsy get the A+ treatment, the rest of the fuckers get over par ads that do their best to communicate which will probably end up getting shit on by the client. Oh the joysssss of advertising.

Anonymous said...

I think that the delaying process in the name of "perfection" is a tactic which simply delays detection and therefore having to justify a decision within their own organization. It's a survival technique utilized by the incompetents of the world who are so over their head they don't even know they're drowning.

Their chaos is the agency and freelancer's bread and butter. We feed off their inefficiencies. It's amazing that anything gets done with the level of idiocy out there.

The bell-shaped curve of intelligence is purely theoretical. The reality is far more depressing.

the typist

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