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

Fallon's First Gold Spot For Orange

Fallon have produced their long-awaited (within AdLand at least) Gold Spot for Orange. Having moved from the original pitch scenario (Swayze, Darth, etc.) to the set (Culkin) to the recording of the soundtrack (Snoop Dizzle), we're now at the premier of the film itself, whivh seems to have been made without Emilio Estevez (so THAT'S what he's been doing) having noticed what his film was about or even called until he reached the red carpet.  As is Fallon's wont, the conceit has been taken further than it's been taken before - as well as the spot itself, there's also a three and a half minute film of the Orange guys being interviewed by Mark Kermode (why do Agencies insist on producing 'viral' films that are over three minutes long?) and a trailer for the film itself.

As you'd expect from Fallon, it's all beautifully made... But you can't escape the feeling that the joke's just not that funny anymore. At least I can't. Can you?

PS It does at least mean that I get to tag this post with 'Emilio Estevez' though - here's hoping there's many more where that came from...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Of Course You Want To Be A Suit

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.

Because dammit, I love my job. I've mentioned this before, both in this blog and on others, but let me state it officially, and for the record now: Advertising is one hell of an industry to work in, and I firmly believe that a Suit's life is the life you want to be living within it. And that's not meant to be disrespectful in any way, oh no - every role is important in the smooth running of an Agency or Industry, and only an embittered creative* would ever suggest otherwise. But I wouldn't want to sit anywhere else on the Great Organogram Of Life. And here's just a couple of reasons why.

1. First off, and apologies if this seems a touch familiar, but everything is our fault - and that's a bloody marvellous thing. A good Suit thrives on that responsibility and the control that comes with it. It brings variety, it brings pressure and it brings excitement.

2. We get to do everything. Creatives might get to write the scripts, but they'll never get to write a brief. Planners might get to moderate groups, but they'll never get to go on a shoot (and good lord, does that bug them...). TV Producers might get to spend hours watching Directors' reels and calling it work, but they'll never (and this might hurt) run an Agency. You, dear Suit, can do all of these things - all of these things and more.

3. Lunch. Again, I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but nobody Lunches like a Suit, much as TV producers will claim otherwise.

4. When a piece of work is made, you will be able to see your fingerprints all over it: you'll remember the awkward conversations you had with the client about the product; the invigorating, enlightening and infuriating conversations with your planner about the brief; the buzz when the team was briefed; the shiver when your phone rang and it was a copy-writer who wanted to bounce a thought off you; the rock in the pit of your stomach when you first presnted the idea to that selfsame awkward client and the stand-up row you had 20 minutes later; the sunburn you got on your feet while shooting in Barcelona and the light you broke playing football in an underground carpark the same day; drawing that final line through the final frame on the shooting board; viewing an edit for the first time; you'll be the one that stands there at the front of the room and presses play when the Client seesthe fruits of their investment for the first time; and you'll be in the room when somebody walks in with a powerpoint presentation that will tell you whether you've failed or succeeded.  Every element of it will be in some way yours, and that's a wonderful thing. Not to mention how proud your mum will be.

5. Everything counts as work when you're a Suit. Creatives can lap up the culture, Planners can lap up the data, Art-Buyers can lap up the galleries and TV Producers can devour the reels, but a Suit can and should be doing all of the above and more. Read anything you can get your hands on, you're working. Spend a whole day in the cinema, you're working. Read 'Eating The Big Fish', 'Ogilvy On Advertising', 'Herd' or anything else you might find in the 'Marketing' section of Waterstone's, you're working. Spend 6 months wandering round South America, you're working. Get off your face at the Camden Roundhouse, you're working. Spend 6 hours at lunch at Corrigan's, well, you probably are actually working. Knowing about everything that's going on is part of what we do, and the best way to know about what's going on is to have done it. (And then to try and expense it.)

6. Expenses. TV Producers think they know how to play a job number - to a good Suit, watching a TV Producer with a job number is like watching a chimpanzee trying to play a bassoon. There's artistry to an expenses claim, and we've got all the paints.

7. Finally, to finish with (it's getting late), a serious point. A Suit in advertising gets as good a business education as you could buy, and he or she gets paid to do it. You get involved in the intricacies of production, you get involved in contract and fee negotiations, you get to do resource planning, you'll be one of a maximum of five people in your Agency who actually knows what 'P&L', 'bottom line' and 'margins' actually are. Later on in your career, that will either come in extraordinarily useful when you're the CEO or MD of your own Agency, or when you've taken everything you've learnt and are applying it elsewhere. Nothing says 'transferable skills' like Advertising Suit.

So that's that from me - 7 random, top of my head reasons (and there are hundreds more) why this is the best job in the world, and why it's the job that if you aren't already doing, you should be dreaming of. Or if not dreaming of, then at least quite looking forward to. Hell, it's still a job.

So - what do you lot think? Why is being a Suit the best job in the world for you? Of course, it's just possible that you don't agree with me - why the hell not? Come along - that's what the comments are there for.

*The link is, of course, an affectionate joke - without that creative, I wouldn't be here.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Everything Is Your Fault - 2

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.

As promised, here's another selection of hints and tips for Junior Account Men - things I wish I'd known, things I was lucky enough to fluke, and things that I will expect you to do without being told should you ever be (un)fortunate enough to work for me. Some have been lifted from the comments on my last post, and some are once again dredged up from my own joyful (and less joyful) experiences.

1. Be in before anyone else. As someone put it in the comments on an earlier post, you should be starting your second cup of coffee while everyone else is brewing up their first (sound advice, even if he did then fail to spell 'privileged' correctly. There are two things going on here: one is practical, the other reputation-driven. The practical point first - you can get a hell of a lot more stuff done at 8am, when you can be fairly certain that you won't be interrupted, than you can at noon when you're fair game. If something has to be finished by lunchtime, make sure it's done the evening before, because if your AD needs you to do something urgently at 11, he's not going to listen to any excuses. The second, reputation-based point is equally important - your AD wants to come in to work to find you already at your desk, your day well under way. Account Management are always, without exception the first department into the office in the morning and the last to leave in the evening - it is absolutely your responsibility to ensure that remains the case. If a creative team are in early working on a pitch brief and have a question to ask, you need to be there when they call. If a planner is in early working on a brief, you need to be there when they call. I've spent whole weekends sitting at my desk simply because a creative team were slaving way upstairs, and the might, at some point need something. Get into this habit now - it will serve you well.

2. If you're lucky enough to be working on a pitch, say goodbye to your social life for the duration. If you manage to get out of the office at a decent time, your mates will still be at the pub - it is not, however, ever acceptable to say, "Yeah, I'd love to stay late, but I'm playing five-a-side football/going to the theatre/going for dinner." You can do all that when you're a CEO (which will happen a lot sooner if you're prepared to stay late...). Nor is it acceptable to leave a traffic/project manager and a creative team sitting up in studio while you bugger off to bed. If they stay late, you stay late - partly because it'll be your fault if the work's wrong, but also because working late on a pitch is a team experience, and it's your job as a Suit to lead that team.

3. I don't want to see you nodding at the Client when he talks in meetings, I want to see you writing down what he or she is saying, ready to send out the contact report within 24 hours. That is your job.

4. Never trust spell check. You should only be using American spellings if you're working in America, and it won't pick up typos ('son' for 'soon', 'be' for 'by' etc.) and if you send something out with typos, it reflects badly on you, which means it reflects badly on me. That is a bad thing. Check it, and when you're done checking it, check it again, whatever it may be.

5. Detail is everything. It is the foundation on which everything else is built - if you can't do detail, you can't do your job.

6. This may seem obvious, but wear a suit for client meetings. Planners can get away with jeans and a corduroy jacket, creatives can get away with pretty much anything, but we are Suits - we are the businessmen of the team, and should carry ourselves accordingly. One of the most chastening meetings of my nascent career was being told by my AD that I was no longer coming to a Client meeting because I was wearing smart jeans and a shirt. (There are exceptions to this - Nike, for example, don't like it, but much better to be gently mocked by the client for wearing pin-stripe than not allowed to go to the meeting because you're wearing jeans.)

7. Take tremendous pride in everything you do, be it status or contact reports, agendas, setting up meeting rooms, sending out meeting requests, or otherwise. In the early years of your career, your exposure to Clients is likely to be minimal - as such, you won't be judged on your charm, your wit or your incisive commentary, you will be judged on the accuracy and craft of the documents you send out and the things you do. And here's a secret for you - Clients read everything. And then judge you on it. It's their job.

And for now, I'll stop there. I have to say, I quite like the idea of a weighty post on a Friday morning - it goes with the strangely masochistic theme that this blog seems to occasionally entertain. Perhaps I'll write something frivolous on Monday about puppies or balloons to compensate.

As always, I hope this is of use - and any further comments, hints, tips, questions or critiques on anything I've written is to be encouraged in the comments. Having a view is one of the most important parts of a Suit's job.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Brief Holiday

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

Why Lunch Isn't Going Anywhere

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.

Now, one thing I've noticed about this recession is that it's very much, if you'll indulge the melodrama, about 'death'. To explain: for any given circumstance, there are always at least two ways of observing it, at least two ways of cutting the data, and at least two ways of viewing the consequences. For example, 'the death of the night out' could also be expressed as 'the rise of the night in' - as pubs and restaurants lose, so pizza delivery places, lovefilm and Ann Summers win. Perhaps naturally, in times of recession, the instinct is to focus on the negative - but when it comes to Lunch (always capitalised), I'm not sure that's the right way to think of it.

Let's look at this purely from an advertising perspective (to be honest, Journalists and Bankers having their expense accounts slashed just means that restaurants are a much nicer place - the death of braying, the rise of 'having a nicer time', if you will). I'd say that over the last few years, we'd reached a slightly crazy place on the Lunch front, where successfully supplying a print ad merited Bellinis at Joel Robuchon, fishcakes at the Ivy or Fish Pie at Sheekey's - with the aforementioned Frenchman now offering a sub-£20 set-menu lunch, it's fair to say the world has changed somewhat, and with it the concept of Lunch.

But dead? Gosh no. Just different - and many would argue, for the better. When Lunch is something that happens all of the time, it loses its lustre somewhat. And that is something that must be guarded against. A good lunch can have wonderful consequences: it can change a client relationship for the better; it can get a tricky spot through the BACC; it can bond an Agency team... And a GREAT lunch... Well, a great Lunch can make an Agency. At the heart of any enduring Agency-Client relationship, you will find at least one great Lunch, if not a whole succession. And the fact that these occasions don't arise every week just serves to make them more special - any threat to their existence just makes them all the more so.

So perhaps a change is a good thing - perhaps, Lunch was in danger of becoming, well, just lunch. But as budgets get slashed, Lunches will be rationalised - people will Lunch when the situation demands, not when the situation quite fancies it. And as the frequency decreases, any good Suit will tell you that the quality must increase - I like to think of it as Newton's third law of Lunching*. So welcome this recession, Suits of the World. There may be fewer Lunches, but they're going to be damn good.

So, with all of that on board, it feels like a good time to ask my dear reader(s) about their best lunches - where were they, what was the occasion, and, most importantly, what was the wine? I'll happily respond with my own (debranded) recollections in the comments.

*Newton's First Law of Lunching: The longer the Lunch, the better the Lunch. Newton's Second Law of Lunching: The bigger the occasion, the bigger the Lunch.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Finding Your Way - A Short But Illuminating Tale

When I first started as a Suit, I didn't really have a clue what I was doing. I knew 'adverts', sure, but 'advertising' wasn't something I'd ever really thought about - as I've intimated in an earlier post, I pretty much fell into it.

Circumnavigating, by chance rather than design, the traditional grad recruitment merry-go-round, I turned up at the door of one of London's top ten Agencies (a fact of which I had no idea at the time) one July morning, ready to start on a Summer School. The Summer School was to last ten weeks, and I was to act as a kind of Account Executive's Assistant on one of the account teams - shadowing the AE, learning how to do what he did from what he did, and hopefully at some point inadvertently picking up enough knowledge to be able to apply for his job meself the following year (or at least learning what 'brand' meant).

Except, of course, on that first day, the AE was off sick and there was a massive presentation to the Client's Board that afternoon. Everything was pretty much in hand, apart from the presentation itself - all typed up in Powerpoint, it just needed to be formatted.

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.

So what did I do? I said, with confidence, "Of course I know how to use Powerpoint", and then spent the next three hours bitchslapping the panic and vague nausea that had beset me, working out first what Powerpoint was, then how to use it and, ultimately, making the presentation look good - I found my way. And that, if you're looking for a maxim, is what I've been doing ever since.

You see, finding your way (or finding a way) is a key part of a Suit's job. It's particularly true when you start your career, but a Suit's life is full of doing things for the first time - whether it's formatting a powerpoint presentation, running a multi-million pound TV production, producing a microsite or sending porn to a client. And nobody knows how to do anything the first time they do it - all we can do is find our way. And when things don't go how we expected them to (and God, wouldn't life be dull if they did) then all you can do is find your way through, round or over whatever obstacles have been thrown in your path.

If 'everything is your fault' is one of the most important things to understand as a Suit, then 'finding your way' is one of the most important things to know how to do. And that's another one of the things that makes this job as much fun as it is.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Oh, Bugger. Are We Dead Again?

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.

Needless to say, the idea that we Suits are no longer necessary (or even an 'expensive legacy') is not one that sits comfortably with me, and I'm glad to see Mr McGuinness refute these claims, as eloquently as you might expect from someone in his position.

It's not for me to reiterate or rephrase what he's said - all I can say is that it lifts my heart to see someone pour water on the fallacy. The problem (and I won't deny that there can sometimes be one) isn't Suits, who at their best can be the heart and soul of an agency (and, perhaps even more importantly, a key driver of revenue) - it's Bad Suits. And Bad Suits, like Bad Creatives, Bad Planners, Bad Designers, Bad Producers and Bad People in general are a scourge that have no place in our industry.

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.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Everything is your fault

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.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Why blogging needs Suits

I have to confess, when the blogging phenomenon first hit AdLand, I found it all a little confusing. I think this is largely because it was driven and owned almost entirely by planners. There was an awful lot of chin-stroking and an awful lot of pontificating from an awful lot of extremely clever people using unnecessarily obfuscatory words and phrases like 'copacetic' and 'empathy deficit' (see what I did?). A lot of it was (and is) fairly (or even extremely) interesting, but it was all very one-sided - to generalise massively, it was written by planners for planners. Or, to be slightly more inflammatory, people with data for people who get data hard-ons. And yet, ironically, that data itself was often bloody woolly, based on nothing other than opinions that lacked quantification in a very un-plannery way - a situation that led to the 'Great Blogging Debate of 2007' as it's known by nobody. Poor old Russell seemed to cop most of the flak for that, simply for being the bloke who'd embraced it first. And best. At least, as seemed best at the time.

If one thing had been confirmed though, it was that blogging had a degree of power and influence over people - the question was whether that power could be edifying, or whether its sole consequence would be the wholly unnecessary (and touchingly melodramatic) "death of planning".

And then came the creative revolution - and it all seemed to make a lot of sense. Blogs were being used to share and critique work (and, in latter times, to test the moderation skills of AdLand's finest Art Directors), to share anecdotes of creatives past, to offer hints and advice to those trying to get ahead (or even started) in advertising, to be rude about digital/DM/clients/Suits/delete as appropriate - they basically became pubs with less booze or pork scratchings, but better AV facilities to actually show off the work you were discussing.

But it's still all so very introspective and self-regarding. Bad work only ever seems to exist because of bad clients, bad briefs, bad Suits, bad directors or bad brands - never because of bad creatives. (Obviously, I'm generalising hugely here, and there will be examples to prove me wrong - but as Primo Levi said, in an infinite universe, everything happens at least once, so single examples are meaningless. Besides, generalising is half the fun of blogging.)  And why shouldn't it be? Part of the job of the creative, and part of the psyche that allows them to take on brief after brief after brief, is to have absolute belief in their own ability to (a) crack whatever's in front of them better than anybody else could, and (b) crack whatever's in front of anybody else better than they could - and I salute them for that. Some of the best creatives I've worked with are arrogant prigs, and I wouldn't change them for a second.

But that's why blogging needs Suits. We are, for whatever reason, and despite having our perfectly manicured fingers all over pretty much every step of the process, strangely removed from it. The Client's the one who'll enjoy the massive bonus should the work succeed, the planner gets the IPA glory (although every Suit should write an APG paper at some point in their career - but I digress), the creative team gets to go to Cannes and sleep in their own vomit outside the Gutter Bar, the director's the one who gets to sleep with the furiously hot girl he cast - hell, we don't even get a mention on the list of credits in Campaign.

And so we remain - part of the work, but not tainted by it. Seeing everything, but emotionally attached (at least, to an unhealthy degree) to nothing. I'm not suggesting we don't care - of course we care. But a little distance allows us an objectivity that someone who's either done the work, or whose livelihood is directly threatened by the work could never enjoy. And that's why we are best placed to write about it and the industry that provides it.

Plus, we have much better lunch stories and much more dirt than you do.

PS The counter-argument to all of this, I suppose, is Suits shouldn't be blogging because they're utterly beholden to the client and incapable of forming their own opinions and thoughts on anything bar lunching venues. But those are 'Bad Suits', which are an entirely different breed.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

So why am I here?

Now that I've proudly announced my existence to the blogosphere (or to at least three members of it), I think I need to to try and establish the point of it all - or at least of this blog. Give me some time on the bigger stuff.

I think there are a few routes I could choose to follow:

1. The 'Anything You Can Do, I Can Try and Copy' route.
This is where I attempt to take on the likes of Scamp and Ben, or at least join their ranks, by posting creative work as soon as I find it, sharing my considered view, and then inviting likeminded folk to come and comment on the work I've posted, and bond in our shared love of criticising Fallon Juniors. (Only I'd have to call them Fallon Junior Creative Teams, because I'm not in the gang.) While there will inevitably be a bit of that (and whilst I'll inevitably post some stuff that other people have already posted - hell, if Scamp can do it, I sure as hell can) I don't really think the world needs another blog about that.

2. The 'Does The World Really Need Another Blog At All?' route.
Where I attempt to answer the big questions about trends, research, qual and 'big thinking'. This would definitely be FUN, and there will certainly be a fair bit of this (hopefully without wrapping myself up in the kind of self-defining, solipsistic jargon that leaves some briefs crying out to be ignored), but I think there's more than enough of Richard and Faris to go round.

3. The 'Check Me Out, I'm Cultured' route.
This is where I act like a depository of everything that's remotely interesting that I've seen, watched, or overheard people talking about - I'd basically like a one-stop Stumbleupon. Which is basically what Stumbleupon is. And they do it better than I would.

4. The 'Digital Is Everything' route.
Where I opine regularly on the latest digital phenomenon, using it to remind everyone one more time that anything that isn't a banner is the past. Including banners. Unfortunately, that's a pile of shite. 'Digital' is a word, people - and it's not going to be scary for long, in the same way that TV wasn't scary for long. We work in advertising - any 'lines' were invented by accountants. (There's also a 'Digital Is Nothing' route, but we don't need to go there.)

Ultimately, my vision is for it to be all of the above - if my vision of the perfect account handler is anything like the truth (that's for another post) then the perfect account handler's blog should be the perfect blend of planners, creatives, TV producers, designers, clients and, just for the hell of it, the public's view on 'stuff'. So I'll talk about the frustrations that clients can bring, but from the point of view of someone who actually gets to know them as people, rather than someone who just hates their briefs and feedback; I'll talk about creative work, but from the point of view of someone who has to help craft the strategy that leads to it and then has to sell it rather than someone who views work as a ticket to Cannes (or otherwise); I'll talk about lunch, from the point-of-view of the person who has to pay for it/whose job number it ends up on, rather than... Well, you get my point.

This will be a blog about 'stuff' from the point of view of the people that carry the bags that carry the stuff. And, you know, things I like.

Why Don't Suits Blog?

As I'm sure anyone reading this knows, the egregious Scamp recently posted on the weighty matter of just how over-paid creatives are in our glistening industry. I'm only teasing of course - he was in no way boasting, but in fact raising an interesting point about the disparity of pay between creatives at 'traditional' agencies and those at pure-play digital houses.

Sure enough, as is his wont, he provoked an interesting debate, and all was going swimmingly until someone dared to ask whether he had similar figures for Account Men or Planners - Scamp, somewhat sniffily, suggested the enquirer check an Account Man blog... Except, of course, that there aren't any.

And yet, it was difficult to take any actual offence at the tone, because... well, because there really aren't any. Why aren't there any, I asked myself? Are we all too busy lunching or carrying those damn bags (chaps, they're really not going to carry themselves) to have or share a view on things creative? It's fine for Jai and Wal to blog furiously, they've got nothing else to do. (That, I assure you, was an affectionate joke...) But that can't be the case - checking your average account man's in-box will quickly belie the idea that he or she has no time for anything but work.

Do we just not have a view? Is it possible that the mediocre creatives are right, and we really are good for nothing but saying "Yes, you're probably right - but why don't we discuss it over lunch" to Clients? God, it's a sad state of affairs if that's true. As Account Men we have the opportunity to get involved in every step of the process, from working with the client to develop the brief through to getting the final piece on air/on-line/on hoardings/wherever - if we can do that job without at any point engaging with our work, either on a micro level, or in the context of the wider industry, then perhaps we should be working for the FSA.

Do we maybe just not get blogging? The digital world is very scary. On the other hand, sod off.

Or perhaps it's because we've spent years, from the days of CDP and Frank Lowe onwards, being told that it's not our job to have a view - it's our job to represent the views of others effectively and efficiently. Hmm.

Well, perhaps it's time to change that. As belts tighten, the business-savvy views of the account handler who is not wed blindly to the research learnings, nor to the lure of Cannes, nor to the Client's dinner table become all the more important. Perhaps our time is now.

And, even if it's not, at least there's an account man blogging.