Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday Tip No. 21 - Don't Behave

Returning after a hiatus caused by running out of ideas, here is another in my long-running yet doubtfully useful series of Tips For Young Creatives.

What I want to talk about today is being well-behaved, and why you shouldn't be.

First of all, I must make clear that I'm not advocating 'bad' behaviour, like turning up late for meetings, being rude to people, not listening, being untidy or uncouth, and generally walking around thinking that you're the shit. All of that is not on.

What I am advocating when I say 'Don't Behave' is - don't do things just because that's the way they're always done, or to make things easier for other people, at the expense of the work.

Five examples to explain what I mean.

1. Behaving means spending 90% of your day on that retail radio brief you've been given, with almost no time left over on the big TV brief that's floating around the department.

2. Behaving means saying yes when the account team ask you to write an alternative 'safe' version of your script, which they promise they will only present as a fall-back.

3. Behaving means always coming back with ideas for the media specified on the brief.

4. Behaving means agreeing with your creative director even when you think he's wrong and is going to mess up the ad.

5. Behaving means doing an average job on a dull brief for a difficult client, aka "you're really helping us out here".

In short, DON'T BEHAVE.

It won't get you anywhere. And it's so much less fun.

Tip No.20 - How To Discuss Ideas
Tip No.19 - Read Hugh's Tips
Tip No.18 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job
Tip No.17 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7)
Tip No.16 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together
Tip No. 15 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ
Tip No. 14 - Make Friends With Traffic
Tip No. 13 - Get Reference
Tip No. 12 - Don't Stop Too Soon
Tip No.11 - Be Very
Tip No.10 - Breaking Up
Tip No.9 - Working Well With Your Partner
Tip No.8 - Finding The Right Partner
Tip No.7 - How To Approach Agencies
Tip No.6 - Never-Seen-Before Footage
Tip No.5 - Dicketts' Finger
Tip No.4 - Two Blokes In The Pub
Tip No.3 - Play Family Fortunes
Tip No.2 - Should You Take A Bad Job?
Tip No.1 - Don't Overpolish


Lunar BBDO said...

Behaving means having tawdry, meaningless sex with the client just to get your award version radio ad sold.

Anonymous said...

Oooh behave!

Anonymous said...

Great point. I've seen countless teams suckered into 'taking one for the team' on a difficult/dull money making bits of business. Before they know it they are the 'go to' team for difficult/dull money making bits of business. Then the current creative director gets fired, a new one comes in and fires them because all they have produced is crap for the last three years - despite keeping difficult/dull money making bit of business happy and the money rolling in. The thanks you get for behaving in the long run? The bullet.

Scamp said...

Absolutely right, last anonymous. And well put.

Anonymous said...

Love the post. All that sounds really nice, mates.
But what's one supposed to do? Refuse to do anything that doesn't look promising?

Obviously high profile creatives like you can afford to do this but remember these are supposed to be tips for young creatives. And young creatives are asked to deal with these kind of briefs or hit the road.

Oh and the other thing is, what about Burger King, Ariel, Tide, mac/pc? I'm sure all of those briefs looked utterly shit in the beginning.

Scamp said...

A fair point, J. Of course one can't refuse briefs. I guess the key is just not to turn in average ideas, however unpromising the opportunity, and however much you sense that average is what is wanted. Your Tide and other examples are well-chosen.

Anonymous said...

Behaving means staying on brief...

Anonymous said...

I think this old chap might have agreed with you, scamp.

"I don’t want people who do
the right things. I want people who do inspiring things.”

Bill Bernbach.

Alan Wolk said...

Excellent Scamp.
Coming late to this, but it hit home.

My first job, I spent 2 years being the sucker who did the ads that pleased the difficult/dull clients. I spent most of my time angry that teams that blew off assignments or couldn't be trusted to show up at meetings wound up having 2 weeks to do nothing but concept big TV assignments, while I had about a day and a half.
Then I got a new partner and a new CD and all that changed.

Now that I'm on the other side of the coin, I find myself championing the creatives who argue back. It drives my partner crazy but I always tell him I'd rather have someone who fights for what they believe in than someone who accepts whatever I tell them. To me that just says "yeah, I don't really care, just make it go away." (Not a bad idea on certain assignments, but as a regular habit, certainly bad news.)