AdLand Suit is Dan Shute, a Board Account Director at Delaney Lund Knox Warren, a top ten London Advertising Agency. This is where I write about the life of a Suit - which can include pretty much anything. Delaney's didn't know I was doing this, but they do now. They still don't agree with everything I say though. They'd also probably rather I swore less.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
There were a number of titles that I could have chosen for this post: "Why I Love Being A Suit", for example; "Maybe It's Because I'm A Suit..." crossed my mind; or, of course "Why Being A Suit Kicks Ass" (apparently a fair few people have started reading this in the States, which I for some reason find extremely exciting). But, as the intention is that this will be reposted over with those delightful young whippersnappers at AdGrads, I thought it better to make at least the headline fit with their target. Because, unlike the (seemingly) popular and (certainly) controversial 'Everything Is Your Fault' strand, which is, ostensibly at least, advice for Junior Suits (although contributions from everyone continue to be welcomed and encouraged), this is very much a post for all of us - for all Suits.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
First off, apologies for the radio silence - a rather lovely break turned into, as short breaks are wont to do, the week from hell, so I haven't really had a second to think, let alone write. However, it's Friday - it's time to write. On with the show.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Apologies for the forthcoming silence, but I am away on holiday until Wednesday, enjoying the finest 'stuff' that South France has to offer. I'm not even sure whether there are enough people holding out for a new post to warrant this out-of-office, but better safe than sorry. There will be many more posts to come on my return - in the meantime, I'd love to hear about Lunches you have had, would love to have had or dream of having in the comments of this or the Lunch post. Have a lovely time, chaps - see you in a few days.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Last Friday, the Guardian's G2 section carried a rather distressing article on 'The Death Of The Lunch'. Some rather archaic language aside (nobody refers to it as 'the lunch' anymore - we dropped the definite article YEARS ago, dahling), this is obviously a topic of some importance for the advertising world. And particularly, some might say, for Suits.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Which would have been fine, had Powerpoint not been one more entry on the list of 'Things I'd Never Heard Of'. Impressive, I know.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
With astonishingly fortuitous timing, Andrew McGuinness, Partner at the hugely successful Beattie McGuinness Bungay has just published an article through the IPA on the persistent rumours of the demise of the Account Man.
Monday, 9 March 2009
After the slightly negative (but important) titling of my last post, I wanted to focus on the more positive, sunny aspects of the Suit's job today - nobody wants to read about everything being their fault on a Monday. (Though trust me, it still is.)
During my career, I've heard many people try to sum up the precise role of the 'Suit'. Whether it's furiously optimistic Heads of Account Management describing Suits as 'The Team Captain', clients describing us as Bag-Carriers or Creative teams describing bad suits as 'The Client', it's never easy to label what we do, not least because good suits will do a bit of everything.
I think the closest I've come to a satisfactory summation of what we do is the quote that forms the title of this post, that comes from a conversation I once had with a current CEO of one of
And dammit, he's right. If upon completion of a project the Client is happy because the work's good and the process was smooth, the Creatives are happy because the work's good (but in a different way), the planners are happy because the work's on brief, TV production are happy because the work's on budget, Digital are happy because of all the things that make Digital people happy... If you can honestly say that everyone got a balloon, then you've done a good job.
And to stress, this isn't just about getting things done correctly, it's also about making things fun. It's often been said that the 15% of time a client gets to spend with the Agency should be the most exciting 15% of his week - that's true now more than ever, and it's not just the case for Clients. If you're running or part of a team that people want to work with, that people want to be involved with, then you're going to get better work out than the account team that just churns it out, that focusses on the negative, that makes it all a bit sodding miserable.Make sure everyone gets a balloon - if people have ever needed balloons, it's now.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Yep, it's advice time. Hurrah! Now, I'm not going to proffer advice on how to get into the industry, partly because that's already expertly dealt with elsewhere, but mostly because I fluked it meself. But we all have to start somewhere - yes, even me. One recurring element of this blog will be quick posts on 'things I wish I'd known before I made myself look a tit in front of the Chairmen'. (I was going to call it that, but 'Everything Is Your Fault' was snappier.)
1. Everything is your fault. Yep, everything. When, in a meeting with the senior client, the DVD that you checked doesn't play on the equipment that you checked, it is your fault. When the cab that you booked doesn't turn up, it is your fault. When Traffic fail to deliver the work that you've chased them on every day for the last week, it is your fault. If you fuck up, it is, obviously enough, your fault. If you remember that everything is your fault, all things will pretty much fall into place.
2. Always have at least £50 in your wallet. Someone once told me that Grey enforced the JAMP system - Junior Account Man Pays. That's unlikely to be the case if you're lunching at Joel Robuchon (unless your boss is what I like to call 'an absolute bastard') but in pretty much every other situation (cabs, bars, pubs, coke/strippers for clients, etc.) you should be the first to reach for your pocket. Whilst it will sometimes be acceptable for your AD (or higher) to pay, it is never acceptable for the Client.
3. Make sure you've got numbers for cab companies in your phone. I still think less of an AM with whom I work because of a time when she didn't know how to call cabs at the end of a client Christmas do. That was three years ago.
4. Status reports matter. Accept that.
5. Make friends with the PAs, the guys in studio and the guys in the AV Suite. At its most basic level, your job is to get stuff done, and these are the people that can help you with that. It's great to be matey with the CEO, but he's not going to help you jump the queue to get DVD before the last overnight courier goes.
6. Check everything before you send it out - from start to finish. A former colleague of mine once, in a hurry, checked the first 20" of an ad on a Umatic (who remembers them?) before it went to client – all good, in the post. It turned out the Soho edit suite they were using doubled as a production house for hard core pornography overnight - which was what greeted the senior client when he sat down to watch his new ad, with his family, on the weekend. If senior Suits can occasionally appear obsessive with their checking, it's for a reason.
7. Do the boring stuff, and do it well. I know it's frustrating, but I can promise you that you are not the first Suit to come out of university and find you have to spend most of your time fixing photocopiers, making DVDs, organising meeting rooms and booking couriers. We've all done it, and it will pass - and only once it's passed will you realise how important those jobs are and how much difference it makes to people when they're done well. You should also never forget those skills. In years to come, you might be the CEO of an Agency, but if the photocopier jams five minutes before a meeting and there are no other Suits around, you're the one who's going to have to un-jam it. Why? Because, as I may have mentioned, it's your fault if the photocopier's jammed.
That's all for now, but there will be more. The job of a Suit is wonderful and varied, which is why I love it. Any thoughts from readers will be hugely appreciated in the comments.