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.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Make Sure Everyone Gets A Balloon

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 London's top ten Agencies. "AdLand Suit," he didn't say, "Ultimately, the Suit's job is to make sure that everyone involved in a job ends the day happy – to make sure that everyone gets a balloon."

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.


Will said...

Planning's balloon also gets burst when they have no part in debriefing the creatives or if the brief gets sneakily rewritten by the account handlers.

Not that that's ever happened to me, oh no.

AdLand Suit said...

Again - Bad Suits tainting the rest of us. As far as I'm concerned, the Planner/Suit combo is a partnership, and an extremely important one at that. If you have Suits rewriting your briefs and not telling you then send them my way, because they're giving the rest of us a bad name.