I have had a really intense week. Lots of work. Lots of jobs. And of course, lots of stupid little shit that really takes me over the edge. As I recently sent in a color proof THREE times over a shadow - yes, a SHADOW - I started thinking... Some clients do some stoooooopid things. Yeah. Stoopid Stupid. So? What are my top five? Let's see.
1) Fucking up a great design.
Jesus Christ! You cannot imagine how many times I have sent a decent looking ad and by the time I send it to press I end up with a TURD. A really stinky, blobby, soggy, unfriendly diarrhea looking shit of an ad. Logos get incredibly big. Telephone numbers get huge. Oh... And bursts galore. Bursts! Are we in 1984? If I had a dollar for every conversation about balance, color coordination, negative spaces... I would be a fucking Millionaire. I can write about this time and time again: look, we went to college and did an insane amount of hours learning how to design. YOU DIDNT. Just because you can coordinate your jeans with a cool shoe does not make you a designer. You are fucking up your design and worse, you are making ME and MY AGENCY look bad.
2) Cramming a Shitload of Messages into one Ad.
Let's say your client is a Soda. In comes Secretary-turned-Account Manager-Because-Maybe-She-Blew-Someone and tells you:
"We have one ad coming, we have to say that we are tasty, low calorie, no caffeine, low carb and just 99¢... For a limited time only. Can you do that in just the header?
Oh and we need a short witty copy."
"OOOOOH really? Hm. How about... IT'S FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE!"
Hey clients... Let's say this over and over again. Single Minded Proposition. Just a simple message. Strong. To the point. Is that so difficult to understand???
3) Making Changes over Things that Really don't matter.
Douglas Bowman said it best. At Google he encountered a Blue Dilemma. He sat there and endured a conversation on different shades of blue. I mean, really. I've had this shit happen to me and you start hyperventilating. Can you make the shadow of the cigarette box a little bit darker. Done. A little big darker. Done. No, no, now a bit more lighter. Will a damn shadow make a client not want to fucking smoke? Moving a logo two inches to the left WILL NOT make your product sell more. Making the copy two points smaller does not require a meeting of five hours! Does it look good? Yes! Now approve the damn thing so I can go home and watch Lost, dammit!
4) Out of the Box when it's not needed.
This is a true story. Long ago and in an agency far far away I got a brief. My Deodorant Client wanted a Shelftalker. They had a new low price. This was a very good deodorant and the price was really cheap. When I think about a shelftalker, I think: TO THE POINT. Logo and Price, huge as shit.
Um. No. We need it to be really creative and witty. Oh great, my two favorite words. "Yeah, we want our piece to be Out of the Box". (I puked in my mouth a little) Do you really need to be creative on a piece that measures 3" x 6"? Does that piece really need to be all that? We spent TWO WEEKS designing extremely creative pieces that I really thought were a waste of money and time. Some pieces out there DO NOT REQUIRE CREATIVITY. Yes, I said it. Pick your battles. If it was a Full Page ad or a Huge Ass Billboard, yeah go for it. But a piece of cardboard that will be stuck on a grocery store, with people walking fast and not paying real attention, two weeks of your time and money are just insane.
Interesting Side Note: The damn thing ended up getting a prize at some whatever contest. It still amazes me when undeserving pieces that have no relevance to clients win awards. But that my friends is another post completely.
5) You say Rush. I say Bullshit.
This is just one of those whoppers that really make me angry as hell. Most of all, if it's on a Friday. "We need to have a shopper, ten pages long, for Monday". Great. I'm already thinking about ordering out, getting a few beers... This is going to be a long night. You know what happens next? They take two weeks to approve it. Is that rush? Hey, rush for me is: you need to do this quick so I approve it and it goes to the printer. It does not mean work your butt off, don't go home and have a nice time with your family so I can have it quick and then take my dear time to check it over.
You can't imagine how many times I've sent a piece that was supposed to be rush and then have days and days go by without a single idea if they saw it or not. I've had on my desk a job which is a YEAR OLD - I am not kidding - that it was supposed to be rush. This is just an insult.
Bonus: 6! Not giving me all the changes in one or two rounds.
Alternative 1: move logo, make bigger, delete second line. Alternative 2: Change photograph. Need another more option. Alternative 3: Insert new mandatories. Alternative 4: Revise mandatories, add website. Alternative 5: make Photograph more close up. Yeah... you get my point. Can't you just give me all the shit on one single call or email?
I can say that at the end of the day, I still get my paycheck. Yes, I do. It always arrives on time. But really, these five things are a waste of my time. Yes, we are supposed to make changes and do a great piece, but there are limits. By avoiding any of these items above, I can be more productive, your ad can get to press on time... and I can go home and have really loud sex with a Latin Hunk.
Have more that I missed or overlooked? Share, share...