I’m sure that at one time or another in our careers we’ve been involved in some super important project that generated loads of money for the client and the agency, and maybe even changed the cultural landscape of the market. Maybe it was a new product launch; perhaps an innovative idea that no one could resist. Sure, you sweated the deal, but at the end of the day it was worth it because the project made an impact.
But some projects are even more difficult than developing a worldwide branding campaign, more stressful than launching a beer brand in a Muslim country; more nerve-wrecking than producing five TV spots with a total budget of $10,000. Of course, I speak of the Advertising Trifecta: Mission Statement; Vision Statement; Position Statement.
Tackling these assignments makes even the most highly-paid, egomaniac creative shudder in fear. You see, these are projects that have no tangible merit in the branding/advertising process because nothing can come out of them. They do not inspire any type of creative work. Who reads or pays attention to Mission and Vision Statements and Positioning, aside from other marketing geeks?
Why then, do clients spend so much time belaboring these points? Why does generating these statements take up to six months or more? Why is it so difficult for everyone to come to an agreement on these items?
My guess is that this is the only situation in which the client, his marketing cronies, and agency executives can actually feel that they are assuming an active role in a “creative” process. It is the one forum in which everyone’s opinion counts, no matter where you are on the corporate ladder. It is a source of great pride for a company CEO to boast his snazzy positioning statement among his competitors. It’s the equivalent of comparing dick length in the country club steam room.
Notice how these are the only projects that garner the full attention of everyone, from Chairman of the Board on down. They are only important because “important” people think they are. And therefore, it’s worth hiring millions of dollars’ worth of consultants and spending months developing them. Priorities, people!