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Nobody Has To Care For As Long As You Do

Last week, I blogged about the importance of work to a Suit. It was a post that generated quite a lot of chat, both here and on twitter, which is obviously a good thing – there’s sod all point in having a blog if people aren’t going to disagree with me from time to time. (Unless, that is, it’s the sort of blog that features pictures of ‘Britney NUDE’ or ‘Megan Fox NIPSLIP’ – visitors to those blogs tend to agree (and do other things) furiously, most of the time. But I digress.)

The reason for all the discussion was that it appeared, at first glance, as if I’d suggested that Suits shouldn’t care about the work – that a Suit’s job was to worry about the process and the logistics that went into actually getting the work made for 80% of their time, and then to spend the remaining 20% schmoozing the Client. Of course, that is categorically not the case.

My point, by which I absolutely stand, is that a Suit who has no talent other than an instinctive love for and appreciation of the creative work is no Suit at all. It’s not enough to love the work. You have to know the process inside out, you have to know your Clients inside out, you have to know the strategy inside out, else the work will never actually happen.

But (and let me be TOTALLY clear on this): if you have any aspirations to be a half-decent Suit, you’d better love the work; love it to an obsessive degree.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s more important for a Suit to love the work than it is for anyone else involved in the process. Yes, even the creatives.

Because nobody else is involved in the process for as long as you. Planners will be there with you when you develop the brief with the Client, and will sit with you on interminable conference calls debating the exact role of each medium, and whether or not there can really be such a thing as ‘Direct Response On-Line Advertising’, when all on-line advertising allows you to respond directly*, but they’re long gone by the time you’re arguing with the Client over the length of time the endframe is on screen for, or the precise moment the legal supers need to come on screen. Of course the Creatives care about the end product, but for them, it’s ONLY about the work: a brief is something that happens to them; the BACC (Or fucking Clearcast if you insist. Whatever.) is just a problem that somebody else will make go away; and the Client… well, the less said about the Creative view of Clients the better. Some of them might read this blog.

But you, dear Suit, you are there from the very beginning to the very end – nobody else has to care for as long as you do.

And for that reason, if nothing else, you’d better care about the work. You’d better see that you have the opportunity to make it better all the way through than it would be if you weren’t there: to make the brief better with the knowledge you can add; to excite the creatives with your enthusiasm for and understanding of whatever it is they have to write about; to have a good enough eye and instinct to make meaningful and worthwhile comments on the work that is presented to you; and to have a good and trusting enough relationship with the Client that they’ll buy ads from you that they wouldn’t buy from anyone else.

Because ultimately, as was pointed out in the comments in my previous post, we get into this business to be involved in the making of stuff: of stuff that changes the way people think, feel and behave; of stuff that adds intangible, perceived value to a product or service; of stuff that makes people laugh, or sometimes even cry. And if you don’t love that stuff, if you don’t really fucking love the work, then you’re probably in the wrong job.

Anyway. Enough of that. Haven’t you got a contact report to write?

*unless it’s being served by [NAME OF MEDIA OWNER DELETED ON ADVICE OF MORE SENSIBLE FRIENDS], in which case it’s probably broken and as such offers no means of response whatsoever.

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