When you work in advertising, 10% of your job is to develop advertisements, a full 45% goes to convincing people of the work you did in the first place, 40% is revising what you already did and 5% is keeping yourself from committing suicide. That last figure has to do a bit with the people you work with, a lot more to do with the people you work for. Most ad employers are bad enough, but clients can be the most hateful bunch of fuckwads this side of hell. People who take every single aspect of advertising for granted because they know better. Here’s my top 5 types of clients I hate.
You are asked to develop an ad idea and allow yourself to be convinced to make three layouts. One great (our recommendation), one safe (rehash of some tried and true ad approach) and the ass boil of an ad the client asked for including thirty bursts, five fonts and the headline their grammy came up with while they visited her at the home. You and your ad buddy of the moment develop the material, make a presentation, create a full-proof presentation to preserve your recommendation and waste 2 and a half precious hours of your time explaining your point. Obviously the best option is to take your three layouts, put them in a blender and click liquefy. Feel free to add along your appendage of preference for consistency. You look at the final layout and can’t help but feel like you’re seeing an ugly ass baby next to their parent and have to make it seem as if they’re wonderful, special and beautiful. It isn’t, but only the people who recognize your little hiccup as your way of covering up the fact that you threw up in your mouth know.
Screw that you’ve been working in advertising for the better part of a decade. That doesn’t matter one lick when you’ve got the gift of gab and the ability to swallow your own bullshit. This type of client KNOWS what’s going to work. They just need you, the agency who is being paid for to develop effective advertising, to execute his brilliant idea which he probably got from the American Way magazine they took from the plane. Reasoning with said type of client is pretty much impossible and you’d do yourself as favor to ask them to draw what they think the layout should look like. It’s so cute when they start to bitch about their ad and when you say that it was their idea and that they didn’t want to listen to reason, it’s your fault for not being convincing enough.
Some people are abusive because that’s their nature, others are abusive because they think it’s covered by the agency fee. I’ve lost count of how many accounts I’ve worked on whose clients are people who have dysfunctional families and relationships, people who are frustrated beyond belief and obviously feel the need to channel their inner demons by busting your balls (or vagina as the case may be).
The Flip-floppeting vampire
Indecision in any setting translates to inefficiency. If it’s your client, get ready to work extra hours, extra days, extra layouts and extra presentations just because they aren’t sure. It doesn’t matter if you threaten them with rush fees, late fees, and fees of a feather as long as they feel as if they’ve sucked out ALL your energy, ALL your time and have gotten their money’s worth.
The Hostage Negotiator
One of my favorite types of client simply because I’ve seen the tactic crash and burn. This is the type of asshole that always manages to slip in the threat to take away their account if their demands are not met. More layouts, less fees, and you’d better like it, because they’re doing you a favor by not taking away the account right now. I’ve seen the difference between empty threats and the promise to take into account and the main difference is frequency. If you are constantly threatened by your client, by all means, call them on their bullshit. I’ve worked at one single agency who did so, things got a bit better, there was another empty threat and the agency DROPPED the account and the person in question had to scramble for a shitty agency to pick up the dung bomb of an account.
So there you have it. I showed you mine, now you show us yours.