Cockfighting, like crap planning was a reprehensible practice I thought we had got rid of years ago.

I was talking to an eminent chap from the media world recently.

I was giving him my impression of media planners that was almost completely incorrect. He was giving me his impression of what we used to call account planners.

And I was rather shocked at what he said.

As far as he was concerned the problem with the planners he came across from the creative side of the fence was their myopic and ad-centric remit.
It seemed that him that these planners were locked into the old fashioned planning cycle of evaluation, brief writing, creative development and evaluation again.
In particular he accused them of seeming to have one primary purpose in his experience. To prove that the creative solution that had been presented to the client was the right one – whether it was good, bad or indifferent.
In other words the planners he met had abdicated their responsibility for ensuring that the work works and were paid to be the intellectual bitches of the creative director and a cadre of account people desperate to get work through at any cost.
In my shock I assured him that these sorts of shady practices had been consigned to the dustbin, as likely to take place as bear baiting, the ducking of witches and the evisceration of convicted criminals.
But there ain’t no smoke without fire plannerkind.
Our job is not to tow the agency line at any cost regardless of whether we believe in the line being drawn. Our job is not to do groups behind the client’s back in the desperate hope that they will throw a lifeline to un-bought work. Our job is to do nothing that will compromise the effectiveness of the work.
Account handlers get fired if the work doesn’t happen, creatives get fired if the work is no good and planners get fired (or should get fired) if the work doesn’t work. It is as simple as that.
Clearly if you have work that is staggeringly good, makes you unutterably excited and that you simply know (whether from your gut or your research) will get the tills ringing faster than the polar ice caps are melting then put every fibre of your being into getting it made and out in front of the people that matter. And give the craft disiplines the space and freedom to make the work magical.
If you think the work isn’t up to scratch at anystage of the process it is your professional duty to represent that point of view to the agency and the client alike. And to do something about it.
Whatever stage of production the work is in.
If you think the rough cut isn’t right, that there needs to be a price, that the work is poorly branded, that the grade is wrong, the photographer’s book is inappropriate for the audience or there needs to be a voice over rather than supers then it is down to you to sort it out.
By god you’d better be right of course.
But if you are right and you sit on your hands, the work doesn’t work, the account gets reviewed, and you lose the business, guess who should be getting their marching orders ahead of everyone else?
Of course I’m sure this never happens these days and planners out there are all building brilliant brand strategies, helping to create astonishing executional solutions and fine tuning the work to within an inch of its life.
But on the off chance the media guy was right.
Cut it out.
You are damaging your personal and professional credibility and the discipline of planning in your actions.

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