Wednesday, June 06, 2007

PLANNERS: ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

There's been a bit of debate about Planning that has grown on the 'Forever is overrated' post. Here are some of them that should keep the particular discussion on Planning going....


Anonymous said...

Love it.

But on another note, anyone else having problems with their planners?

I'd like to know why they have so much control over the creative process. Once the brief is approved they should leave it to the creatives to do their jobs.

But time and time again they're running the show. The problems is not getting your ad through your Creative Director, it's getting it approved by planning.

Planners. The new Client.

Please explain?
10:22 AM

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Anonymous said...

epkpi10:22 does raise a good point about planners. I have tried to go along with them but I seriously cant see the value in it. They just provide a time wasting and frustrating layer of bullshit. Even worse they all seem so desperate to hang in your office and be "part of the gang". Even worse again when they move into the creative dept! WTF?!
8:54 PM

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Anonymous said...

Re 8:54pm's comments about Planners, it is you who is talking bulshit. Planners should be a part of the creative dept as planners are a critical part of the process of GOOD advertising. Planners uncver the insights that give direction to advertising, making good ideas great ideas. There is a direct corelation between the recent upswing in Australian advertising and the involvement of planners in the creative process.
8:16 AM

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Anonymous said...

sorry. not very good. i don't care if Glue worked on it and so did some ex-Patts folk. The ad doesn't make much sense.


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Anonymous said...

8:16 AM...Ah don't tell me, you're a planner?
10:25 AM


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Anonymous said...

Planner's - also known as support staff
5:14 PM

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Anonymous said...

The only really good planner I've ever come across was a creative who crossed over. Unfortunately, all the others were average AE's who really wanted to be CDs. Most of them do good jargon and not much else. As for Fling, it seems to an insight-free zone. (LIke 99% of the stuff we all produce.)
11:50 AM

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Anonymous said...

OMG 11:50am, we've just had the announcement that a failed account guy is moving into Planning at our agency. And the freaking Planning Dept has just moved into the middle of the Creative Dept. Most of them were already hanging in our offices way too much - now it'll be worse than ever. On the bright side though, it is funny watching them try and retro-fit their mumbo jumbo to great concepts when the outcome so cleary did not "spring" from a planning "insight".
8:00 PM

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Anonymous said...

8pm... Retro fit to great concepts? Where are they then? Why are there so many crap ads on this blog? Oh it must be the planners fault... Err hang on
12:24 PM

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Anonymous said...

Planners are just another one of those clever ideas agencies invented to convince clients they were worth hiring: "See, we've got this new specialist who will do all your thinking for you." Clients generally love planners because their only real specialty is taking a client's dumb thinking and selling it back to him in neat marketing jargon. Always looks great on the overheads; always contributes zero to the actual content of the ads. They just give the rest of account service a great excuse for doing even less thinking.
10:05 PM

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Anonymous said...

Good planners help.

Crap planners hinder.

There aren't many good planners around.

The problem isn't with the planning function, it's with the quality of the people doing the job.

Advertising fails to attract enough high calibre people. Tight margins, long hours, the indignities of working in a service industry... if you had a double degree from a good university and were smart enough to discover insights that could make a real difference to the life of a brand - would you really choose to work in the advertising industry?

Some do, but most don't.
9:44 AM

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Anonymous said...

If any one actually thought about this, for a second, and tried to not be a childish "creative" then they would see what utter nonsense, they are talking. One of the most awarded ads ever, is Honda "grrr", if you look at the wklondon site you will see just how much credit is given to their planners who have co-ordinated a very ordinary client into an extraordinary body of work. Even in our fair shores, planning and account startegy have produced the thinking behind the big ad, which would never have been possible without work put in by the planners. In Australia there is so much emphasis on ads and no real thought behind campaignable, sustainable ideas. Saatchis work especially lacks a clear direction for any of their work and it suffers accordingly, why for instance are there now two tooheys ads which are not even linked by the same end line. The fox sports work is all over the shop, and Toyota is only linked by a jump universally panned by creatives, directors and the overseas client.

Planning at it's most simple would see these faults immediately and try and correct them.
12:25 PM

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my gut feeling said...

Some Planners are great. They're passionate about contributing to the process around developing brilliant ideas and they do this by researching and understanding the consumer, then sharing that information with the broader team through a well-written brief. But they don't presume to be the concept developers. And they don't presume to come up with the conceptual creative insight. They provide an understanding of the consumer and the context for the work.

Other Planners, bad Planners, wait for the creative department to come up with the idea, then post-rationalise it into a strategy which they pretend was theirs to begin with. And in doing this they appear to have derived the conceptual insight – making it seem like the creative department simply brought their idea to life through the execution. But they also do it to safeguard a job that is only tenuously connected to the actual ideation process and creative product – which is the future of our industry. At the end of the day that's what we're all selling. And so, naturally, that's the one indispensable commodity moving forward. Hence the emergence of this new and dishonest representation of planning – both within agencies and as external consultancies – as the idea originators.

And subsequently, as this new delineation of the Planner’s role is propagated within marketing circles (because a new role/additional service from an agency equals an opportunity to ask the client for more money), the function of Planning has to live up to the new, perceived role that it has in the creative process. Which means that we are headed toward a future where Planners are expected to crack the thought / insight / idea – and the creative department is just expected to execute it.

Sound familiar?

But we can’t just blame the Planners.

If you take a look at the Planning Awards you will find that Planners are awarded for the amount of influence they had over the idea. They are encouraged to claim ownership of the concept development if they want to further their careers and/or just keep their jobs. Please, have a look at the APG Planning Awards website and the criteria in the call-for-entries. Last year on the CB Blog Christine Blackburn, chair of the APG Creative Planning Awards, said: “We’re very proud of the body of work presented at the second APG Creative Planning Awards. The planners have uncovered some fantastic insights and applied their craft to bring these insights to life in many different mediums”.

This is where the delineation of concept development is heading.

Our industry is putting pressure on Planners to develop something they’re not trained or hired to develop. Conceptual thoughts. Ideas. Which leads to dishonesty and appropriation. But we Creatives are often too consumed within our own bubble to realise what is going and how that will affect our own job in the long term. Which is a big oversight on our part. Because as the role of Planning takes shape, so too does the future role of Creative. So lets make sure we all like where we're headed - before it's too late for us to change it. The APG Planning Awards are only in their second year. Read through the entry criteria. Find out if your agency is entering your work. If they are, find out who will be taking credit for the thinking / the creative insight / the idea. And if it’s a slimy mess of dishonest lies SAY SOMETHING to your CD, CEO and Planners. If your Planners are post-rationalising your ideas into strategies, then entering them into Planning Awards to take ownership over the idea, you really need to speak up.

http://www.accountplanninggroup.com.au/public/content/ViewCategory.aspx?id=139

If we can stop Planners from appropriating the ideas, we can fix the current perception of the Planner’s role in the creative process and all the problems that lie therein.

12:26AM

71 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good planners are invaluable, and the shit ones are, well... shit. A bit like creatives, and account service, though really... There should be more good people in all disciplines, but so many times I get the feeling that planners and account service seem to forget that they work for the agency, NOT the client. As an agency, we're all meant to support what we believe is best for the client's brand, not what is the individual client 'will like'.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Saying: Throw another planner in the works.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's that, 12.25? The Big Ad was all the result of a planner? That would suprise me or a number I've reasons. First, I've heard taht almost the same concept, good as it is, had been shopped around to other clients by the same creatives over a period of time. That seems possible - it looks to me like a great creative idea that could be applied to just about any client (albeit one with plenty of money). That's no crime, by the way. Good ideas are bloody hard to come by, and if one client won't buy it, hell, why not sell it to another one. But maybe it was all the brilliant work of a planner. I'm happy for someone who actually worked on the job to correct me.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many planners actually come from the creative side of the industry, I wonder? It's just that I've often found that what most planners (and account service generally) think sounds brilliant on paper doesn't actually work that well in an ad. That's okay as long as people realise that a good creative execution isn't necessarily the planner's strategy put to music. Rather too many planners aren't capable of making that leap, wheras planners with a creative background usually can.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RECENT UPSWING IN AUSTRALIAN ADVERTISING?

Are we just coming out of the worst period in advertising history ? I've been working here for seven months and find the standard depressingly low. As do some of your best performing creatives. It seems to have little to do with your creative ability, or the involvement of planners and everything to do with the low expectations of your very suspicious clients. Who, aside from a couple of good beer ads on telly have nothing to inspire them to produce anything anywhere near good.

Someone needs to remind them that marketers watch ads differently from punters and that the best way to sell is to entertain or engage the veiwer as you communicate. In general the less it remind you that you are watching an ad the better the ad is.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very fair points 12:48, but brave clients are scarce on the ground. And agencies willing to stand up for good advertising, rather than what the client wants, are even scarcer.

The simple way of looking at it. Planners are client insurance. Clients are often scared about spending shitloads of money on advertising campaigns, but deep down they know they should becasue their competitiors often are.

So, enter the planner (stage left) that tries and makes an unpredictable thing more predictable by applying science to it. I can almost see those pie charts now. What the client isn't willing to accept is that there is no equation... "If we make consumer research 'x', and the telephone number on the ad 'y', your sales will equal the square root of the sum combined"...

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once had a fairly sassy planner explain to me that selling creative to a new client was akin to kinky sex. You're better served starting off a bit more on the conservative side and then build up to the fancy stuff. I've been working with one client for three years now. Last week I turned up to a meeting wearing a gimp mask. The ad sailed through with no changes.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Not a planner, just wanted to let you know that 20 something girls around these parts (Canada) have been saying that line over and over again since I showed it to them a week ago.

Must have been on target!

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with planners is 10% are great 10% are very good 20% are ordinary and the rest are crap.
Funnily enough, you can probably put the same numbers cpy writer's and art directors. The difference nobody has the bollocks to tell creatives that thy're not very creative.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article by Simon Marquis in The Media Guardian raises the point (through quotation) that a few others on this blog have. Planning isn't the problem, but finding smart people to do the job is. And it's the same with account and creative people.
Which raises the question, how does advertising stack up against other professions like law, finance etc that it's competing against for smart people? And how do we get more smart people to choose advertising?


The article...

A good apprentice is hard to find

"Along with successful cabinet-making, book-keeping or pigeon-fancying, good advertising technique is something that can - and ideally should - be learned"

Simon Marquis
Monday June 4, 2007
The Guardian

Like others in the advertising business, I forced myself to watch the recent episode of The Apprentice in which the contestants made a commercial. They were asked to brand, then advertise, a pair of trainers. The resulting films were predictably excruciating. Brave attempts but cliched, desperate and unconvincing. The bemused faces of the ad professionals at agency Clemmow Hornby Inge, whose job it was to judge the buttock-clenching presentations, were a picture. Sir Alan Sugar, never one for advertising schmaltz, was more than usually scathing.
It was heartening to be reminded that actually, no, not just anyone can come up with a decent advertisement, and that imagination, drive and intelligence are not enough. And that along with successful cabinet-making, book-keeping or pigeon-fancying, good advertising technique is something that can - and ideally should - be learned. As it happens, learning in advertising is the classic form of apprenticeship. Most skills are picked up on the job, observing and emulating elders and betters. Several top advertising people had no formal training at all and some hardly any education, but they joined an agency at 16 as a post-room boy or girl and clawed their way up, watching and listening as they went.

Last week, at the coolly utilitarian offices of ad agency Mustoes, a group of 16 students from West Herts College, were doing much as the television apprentices did, presenting their campaign ideas for Kia cars to a panel that included Nick Mustoe, boss of the eponymous agency, and the Kia marketing manager. These post-graduate students were on their last day of the well- known Watford course, the grounding for many an advertising professional. They had been schooled over the previous nine months in writing a brief, planning a media schedule, devising ads and managing client relationships. What we saw was their response to a tricky brief from Kia for their Sportage model.

Nowadays, senior admen bemoan the lack of talented youngsters coming into the business. They worry that their chosen profession is losing out to the hedge funds, management consultants and City law firms for the smartest graduates and the keenest young minds. In many ways, they are right. Mustoe himself, who came into advertising 26 years ago, thinks the brightest graduates don't look to advertising in quite the way they used to.

"I went into advertising because it was a maverick profession and well-paid. Graduates were fighting one another to get in. It's different now - advertising isn't the first port of call and it isn't well-paid enough any more. We struggle for talent now that all that margin has been stripped out," he says. "Some agencies are clearing out the experienced five-year account execs and replacing them with cheaper, less experienced ones," he adds.

Mustoe is not enthusiastic about today's account executive: little more than competent administrators, many of them, and far too reliant on account planners when there is the slightest threat of having to do any thinking. Is it any wonder, he muses, that clients turn to the brand and management consultancies where once they turned to their ad agency account directors?

A graduate joining Mustoes might expect to start on pounds 20,000-pounds 25,000, but the management consultants will pay tens of thousands more than that for the cream of the crop, writing off their student loans to boot. With the cost of living being what it is in London, who can blame them for choosing the better-paid career path?

Mustoe's generosity in giving up time to help the Watford students isn't all altruism then. Simon Lubin, who runs the course, was an old client, and this is part favour to him and part recruitment opportunity - Mustoe gets a preview of the year's students en primeur.

And some of them are very good - sharp enough to be put straight into an agency job. The thinking around the Kia Sportage brief is well-researched, inventive and fresh. One of the campaigns is pretty well good enough to run as it is and the standard of presentation is exceptionally high. These 16 students, more than half of whom have already secured jobs with agencies, will hit the ground running and be useful to their employers from day one. This is what Mustoe is after. Having founded, then sold, then bought back his agency, he knows exactly what will work for him and his clients: hands-on involvement from the top people, no expensive tiers of middle management and bright, capable young people who add value straightaway.

Curiously, for an industry that seems to have lost its automatic right to the best of the new generation of graduates, learning opportunities and professional qualifications in advertising are better than they have ever been. Most companies run their own training schemes, and there is a choice of excellent courses and diplomas available from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the Media Circle, the Advertising Association and so on.

Advertising needs to ensure that the Watford course and others like it prosper, feeding the industry with new talent. It needs to maintain the drive for professionalism and learned skills. But it must always remember that it is first and foremost a creative business, one that has room for the zany oddball and the post-room boy with an ambitious glint in his eye.

5:09 PM  
Blogger david said...

Blame is bad. it won't get you very far.

when I was fresh and new, i thought it was everyone's else fault when an ad that should have been good, turned out shit. But it wasn't, it was my inexperience, my inability to get my point across.

Six years on, I am still far from brilliant at this job but i have realised the people who are good at this job, do good work, regardless of the people around them. They make it happen. That dude, Dejan and his posse at euro, and Ant and his crew in melbourne, those guys make shit happen.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"great creative without a sharply focused strategy, is merely skating on the slippery surface of irrelevance"

- John Hegarty (some creative guy who seems to recognise the value of planning)

5:36 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I'm a planner.
This is what comes to mind:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxXt1AdSamA
Creatives are the gun, planners are the firing pin. How hard is it to find a good pin these days? Apparently it's pretty tricky! Man, that sh*t is deep!

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who's been around a good creative department know that it's just crazy to act like all the "thinking" and strategy is done by the planners, leaving the creatives to "just draw it up". Often the strategy is only really nailed when the creatives get hold of it and give it some definition. Say you work on beer - it's one thing to say our strategy is going to be "refreshing" and another to say "it refreshes the parts other beers can't reach" . The first is basically generic. The later gives you a clear campaign direction. The later came from a creative.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even our planners say the best strategy people are often the creatives.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahem... Many many creatives. Not many planners. Many many bad ads. Not many good ads. Coincidence, I'm sure...

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another point creative johnnies...have a little look at your wage status 20 years ago...back then, you were number 1. Now you are number 3 behind account service and the highest paid department...planning!

What happened?...Sell your soul for some fake cannes Gold?

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quote..."but so many times I get the feeling that planners and account service seem to forget that they work for the agency, NOT the client". Well only a self centered creative wanker could possibly say that. If what you really mean is "but so many times I get the feeling that planners and account service seem to forget that they work for the creative department and our desire to win metal and drink beer in Cannes", just fucking say it.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Anyone wanting to know whether planers are important or not need look no further than M&C Saatchi Sydney, whom, even when fully staffed, was woefully short of good planners and thinkers. Now, the full effect of that lack of strategic thought means their slide to Campaign Palace 2005 levels is inevitable.
Here in the US there are 2 planners (at least) per account, and they are worth their weight in gold. Great, award-winning ads may not have 'planning' in them, Mr 12:37 (I'm a writer so I'm with you) but award-winning ads that actually imacted sales, will have.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Planners like to turn the simple into something complicated.

We like to call it simplication.

Just like what they're doing to this debate.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Toby and Bec said...

I had a planner once, but it all got too hard so when it was time to order the refills I just went back to using a diary.

Bec

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about revenue generation people.... geez.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous writer said...

Warning, there's a new one on the scene.

It's called a Brand Guardian.

Not a planner, not a suit; but a kind of omniscient busybody who can do nothing but will tell everyone else how to do it.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we take the analogy (shit, a creative using an analogy) of a plant – the shit planners smother the idea so it gets absolutely no sun.

The good ones let it breathe and water it a bit. I just wish they'd move back from London.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not who we're working for that counts(agency or client), but what we're all working to achieve. Which should be to "sell stuff". In the cluttered media environment we all work in, we need not only creative ads, but creative strategy - coz no matter how brilliant your creative is, if the strategy doesn't have real insight and a real point of difference, the ad's gonna sell zilch. It's sad but true, but a good strategy with a mundane ad will sell more than vice-versa. Where does a good strategy come from? Well, it needs good people at every level - clients, planners and creatives - and they need to work together with a single focus, leaving their egos at the door. Which probably explains why there are so few good ads around.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Ostrom's bitch said...

Some words of advice on how to be a great creative:

1. If you want something to happen, do it yourself.

2. If it doesn't happen you haven't done enough.

3. Never blame anyone else.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a load of bollocks. C'mon, let's face facts. We're all crap - planners, creatives, the lot of us. How many planners or agency managers go on to run BHP? Zero. Just as many successful novelists come out of Law or Accountancy as come out of advertising creative departments. Just open your nearest newspaper or magazine. Flick on the radio or TV. Mediocrity is what we specialise in. So all of you poor genius planners and undiscovered brilliant creatives, just get on with it.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all you creatives who can be bothered ....going to visit child abuse victims to find out first hand about what it feels like to be scared but trusting all at once, or can draw up the willpower to leave the city/eastern suburbs and sit in a home in Parramatta and talk to a young mum struggling to pay the mortgage about ice-cream and why it is about the only bright thing in a bloody hard life etc etc ... then you don't need a planner. The fact is many (not all) creatives are very talented and very strategic, but many (and I do mean many) are pretty lazy, so it is the planner that gets in there and does the background reccy for you. The best ideas ideas are often built on a human truths, and that is probably why we have great beer ads and playstation ads, because these are the two categories creatives know best - innately. For the rest of the businesses you work on, you need good insightful planning. If your planner isn't bringing you the kind of insight that makes you feel as though you were walking in the shoes of your target market - then sack them. If you can be bothered looking up from your playstation. (truly talented strategic creatives excepted - these are the rare creatives who get it. they are curious, do seek to know all they can, and do understand what a good planner can bring to the brief and ultimately their work).

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha ha ha! Planning awards... that shit cracks me up.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you call an average AE with the inflated ego of a creative? Yep, a Planner.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:25 is probably right about the pay levels, and the reasons are simple. After deregulation, agencies cut back on spending big time, and creative got the biggest chop. Experience went out the door, and young (and much cheaper) blood came in. Young blood is good, but often it didn’t have the support of wiser creative heads. Not only did this mean less consistent creative work, it also meant that when the young creatives produced potentially great work, they didn’t have people to help them hone it – and sell it. This coincided with the appearance of Planners. With a dearth of experienced creatives onboard, a lot of agencies didn’t feel comfortable letting the youngsters loose on the clients, so Planners often took that role as well. Pretty quickly in this country, instead of being an important part of the creative process, a lot of planners started acting like creative directors, lording it over the young creatives and then even the experienced ones. The only answer? The young creatives aren’t so young any more, so it’s time to speak up. That doesn’t mean just saying your idea is a balltearer or your mates think it’s cool; you have to explain why it will cut through with the target audience, and why it will sell. You’ve got to know as much or more than the Planners about your product and the market. You’ve got to have facts to back your creative. Because if you don’t have those things, you won’t win the argument. And frankly, if you don’t know those things, your concept is probably way off beam anyway.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To understand the value of

planning you need only look at the

work of the Campaign Palace when

Reg Bryson was in charge

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a good suit and a good creative got together they could do a good ad. If a good planner and a good creative got together they could do a good ad. If a good planner and a good suit got together could they do a good ad?

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever notice how everyone on the blog tries to sound more intelligent than the last person that commented?
Anyone fancy some KFC?

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes 8.25 - 'sell your soul for some fake Cannes gold' is the sort of shit you'd write on a brief I'm sure. Trying to be creative but not really pulling it off. And you'd have to be living in Badly-Art-Directed PowerPointland to suggest that the Planning Director of any top agency is paid more than the Creative Director. Not even close! Why don't you just do what we created you for in the first place. Sell the work.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just recieved a brief for a toilet cleaner. After a week of discussions with the client, the planners arrived at this: Brand X - For a wider clean.
Kill me.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of what 3.35 said is twaddle, except the bit about creatives needing to do the work to find out about the product and the market. If you're lazy and let planners do all that for you, then you deserve everything you get.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call me old fashioned, but I don't think it's the creative's job to interrogate the consumer or the market.

I always worked on the basis that the brief was devised by people who knew more about the properties and benefits of the product than I did, and had taken the trouble to find out what they were.

In the same way that it's an actor's job to bring otherwise corny lines to life in a compelling way, I reckon it's our (the creatives) job to bring the brief to life in a compelling way.

Well, that's what it was like in the good old days - when the Campaign Palace was omnipotent and before agencies turned into sausage machines turning out crap - any crap - within the hour.

That's when I decided to say fuck you to the whole stupid mess and went off to work on my suntan.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with 9.45am.

A lot of the arguments here seem to imply that there was a magic dreamtime when creatives were able to do it all, without the need of random planners. Lets also consider that there were less media channels and a fairly amorphous blob of middle-class suburbanites to talk to.

Let's think about now, where there are more audience segmentations that you can come up with names for and more random ways to 'connect' and 'engage' with said audience groups. Yes, there seems to be a lot of specialists whose contributions don't seem tangible. Yes, there are lot of overpaid brand consultants abounds with a lot of buzzwords and few ideas. And yes, there are a lot of shitty briefs with even shitter propositions that fail to capture the creative magic we all long for to help brands along.

But this is a reflection of the people and NOT the practice of account planning (or whatever you call it).

Brands are visceral things, they ebb and flow and its a good agency that can create ways for a brand to make a proper connection in the mind of the average buyer.

The responsibility for this lies at the feet of the entire group of people whose skills are meant to compliment each other (that's right, I know I'm being ideal, but planning and creative skills should compliment each other... planners shouldn't have to feel as if they're subservient to creatives and vice-versa)

Fuck 'bottom drawer ideas', because unless you're lucky enough to work on beer, condoms or PlayStation then you're unlikely to ever get your witty, punny AWARD concept up. Fuck planners who - in the parallel pursuit for awards - will conspire to post-rationalise great creative ideas and place undue emphasis on the strategy element.

But, most of all, fuck anyone who thinks they can do it all themselves - we are in the ideas industry, but we are in service to major companies who need to sell shit. If you can't deal with that, continue writing that screenplay or go out and create your own trendy agency somewhere in Surry Hills.

In conclusion, individual planners can be shit, but planning isn't shit. Same goes for creative. Same goes for suits. Same goes for every industry ever.

Now, can't we all just go to KFC, order a big bucket of chicken, some extra large chips and watch some funny YouTube clips. That'll do the trick.

Love,
Junior Planner.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does KFC sponsor this blog or something?

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Problem is, 12:42 PM, if you don't make the effort to gt to know stuff about your product and market, you're relying totally on the facts as presented - and interpreted - by other people. And by the way, no good actors just take the script and read it - they do background on the character, work out what his/her motivations are and the whole thing. If you don't do the same when you're working on a campaign, you're just shooting in the air and hoping a duck will fly over.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I preferred the good old days when creative just hated AEs.

(Though, to be fair, at least the AEs occasionally flashed their credit cards at lunch and charged it to the client. Until planners start to do that, they'll have no redeeming features at all.)

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite simply...Planners are like an Apendix. They've out lived their usefulness eons ago. You don't really know they're there until they get heated and once cut out, you can ponder just how much evolution has left to work on.

PS. Don't ask the doctor to keep it for you after the operation. While it still exists, there's still the opportunity for it to come back.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous my gut feeling said...

The traditional role of planning has been to understand the consumer and the product, then share that knowledge with the broader team in the form of a well-written brief. This is all invaluable to the creative process and much-loved by the Creative Department.

However with the emergence of the new APG Planning Awards, the delineation of the Planner's role has begun to engulf the ideation process. They’re encouraging the migration of the creative insight - and subsequently the creative idea - away from the Creative Department and into the Planning Department. But no one is having this discussion with the Creatives. So when Creatives are handed a brief with the idea already on it they get pissed off. Or when they find out their idea has been claimed as the work of a Planner in the Planning Awards they get pissed off.

BECAUSE TO ANY GOOD CREATIVE, THE CREATIVE INSIGHT IS THE IDEA. THE TWO ARE INTERCHANGABLE. ART DIRECTION AND COPYWRITING ARE JUST THE TOOLS WE USE TO EXECUTE THAT IDEA.

While at the same time, Planners are left wondering why the fuck the ungrateful Creatives don't appreciate all the hard work they've put into cracking the big thought for the campaign. And it's because that’s the part we like about our job.

DISCOVERING THE CREATIVE INSIGHT AND CRACKING THE CREATIVE THOUGHT IS WHAT WE BECAME CREATIVES FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Becoming a Creative involves a fuck-load of passion, commitment and unpaid work. Contrary to popular belief, good Creatives don't do it for the money or the accolades; they do it because they love ideas. And we're now in a situation where the ideas are either expected to come out of another department and/or are being appropriated by another department. And it's not so much about the appropriation of credit (although that is wrong); it's the subsequent appropriation of what we love about what we do.

It's not about blame; it's about identifying an issue that needs to be addressed.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mgf,

that's probably the best post ever written on this blog.

well, aside from the 'getting the ring to Mordor' one.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes . Agree with mgf.

However...

ideation!?!?!

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideation

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're right 9.11, that blog is fucking great. that's exactly what's happening. it is a problem and it needs to be fixed. totally agree with my gut feeling. and what's with the APG awards?

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Rob @ Cynic said...

As a planner, can I say that I agree with alot of the comments from the creatives on this post.

Many planners are the antithesis of creative liberation ... they are rational, data-obsessed, idividuals whose idea of 'imagination' is limited to reading Business Week.

Just like a lot of clients.

However is this the planners fault or the industries fault for selling creativity so far down the river that they have to hire 'management consultantesque' individuals because it's the only way they can get a decent return from clients anymore.

I should point out not all planners are like this ... just like not all creatives are that creative ... and the ones who are good appreciate their role is a creative discipline rather than a hard-core business one - especially as the end goal should always be the same - developing interesting, relevant, bold communication that helps clients get consumers to do what they need/want them to do.

I wrote about what I believe planners should/shouldn't be doing here ... http://robcampbell.wordpress.com/2007/06/11/dont-go-out-with-a-girl-with-glasses-if-shes-forgotten-her-glasses/ ... and here http://robcampbell.wordpress.com/2007/05/10/on-your-marks-get-set-run-away-advertising-planning-school-on-the-web-assignment/ ... I'd be interested to hear if you agree.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone read the really long blogs??

Real creatives don't.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry 7:45 PM, I wasn't suggesting 'ideation' wasn't a word, more that it's the kind of word that should be kept for the scrabble board or crosswords.

It's a bit like the gruesome 'agreeance' that's so popular with many account people. Sure, it's in the dictionary, but there are better words to use, especially in an industry supposedly dedicated to communication.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like bbq shapes

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does anyone read the really long blogs??
Real creatives don't."

Ummm...what kind of creatives are real creatives? If you think real creatives don't read long blogs, I suppose you think they don't read long anythings - like books maybe? Let me guess, you'd be one of those art directors who say people don't read long copy - am I right? Well, you may be a real creative in the wonderful world of modern advertising, but you strike me as a real dickhead.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:28, I'm with you. I suspect the individual who posted that comment is indeed an art director, one of the 'new breed' - who do their funny little wordless picture puzzles that make no sense to anyone except other art directors on award juries - and never consider the validity of reasoned argument, wit or charm. After all, that's the writer's job.

Perhaps they simply don't have the intellectual capacity to do it.

So let's leave the poor old planners alone for a moment - I should clarify: I'm not one of them - and bash the group who really give advertising a bad name - the fucking art directors.

Come on, let's get stuck into these pretenders - these parasitic appendages who rarely bring any useful thinking to the table.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11.25 You're a dick.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:09, your dumb, witless, monosyllabic response proves my point.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4.28 makes a long overdue point. THe state of art direction in Australian is appalling. I come across endless young art directors who haven't had even the most basic training, who really have no idea of layout or type, who give readers no help at all, who seem to specialise in hiding ideas. Sure, most can play on a computer, but how many can actually do something with a pen in their hand? No many, not many at all. The art of doing a beautiful, simple layout that enhances the idea rather than smothers it seems to have been lost. And sadly, the likes of 11.25 wouldn't even know what I'm talking about.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 1:09, still looking up 'monosyllabic' in the dictionary?

Come on you dullard, I'm spoiling for a fight!

3:51 & 11:25.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath waiting, 5.19. Your comment went to a second line, which 1,09 would probably count as too long. After all, anything over one line would need a line break, and that would probably be beyond his/her skills.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1.09 is hardly going to use a dictionary; too many words.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to just make nice pictures and creative copy rent a stall in paddo market and sell your own paintings and poetry. Advertising is about shifting products and services through carefully considered brand strategy (google this word if you are unsure). Planners consider it, write it, brief it, and make sure it is executed (probably the hardest part with the lack of talent in Australia). The best creatives are the ones that appreciate this and work with planners. Its why some people become creative directors and some just rot away. Good creative is work that fits the strategy. It sounds like some of you guys are struggling to do this and are venting your frustration on this blog. Maybe you need to think seriously about that stall.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6.38 sums it all up pretty well. But I suspect his short, concise comment on what we are supposed to be doing in this industry is probably still too long for some.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Youre all missing the point. Education is so crap in Australia nowadays that most people under 25 can barely read, so advertsing agencies are hiring illiterate nongs specifically to communicate with them. Truly a very clever plan. The planners are really just there to correct the spelling and grammar on the three word headlines.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on. This strategy is so transparent.

Some Planners have got on this blog posing as Creatives and are spinning worthless drivel under the guise of being Copywriters and Art Directors, only to then turn around and use their own manufactured diatribe as the reason for justifying Plannning.

Give me a fucking break.

Unfortunately we're not all quite that stupid.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Dual Action Blender said...

art-copy teams are paired by affinity. but planners and creatives are usually thrown in together without regard to whether or not they get along. add to that the fact that planners and creatives are wired differently. it’s no surprise they fight like hell. now try pairing them up by affinity. chance is the work will improve. because they bring different things to the party. so you’ve got that left-brain right-brain thing going.

-isabelle

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isabelle. Good creatives can think for themselves. Thanks anyway.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been said before in this (seemingly eternal) blog, but the best planners come out of creative. However, the reverse - planners trying to become creatives - is almost always a disaster. Sad for them, but that's just the way it always seems to turn out.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so maybe the question is not whether planners are important but what makes
good planners? i can see why having a creative background would help. you
just made my point.

-isabelle

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isabelle.

Good Planners do the research. They don't come up with the creative idea. Therefore good Planners just need to respect the creative process and bring great background information to the table in the form of a well-written brief.

They need not be creative.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Dual Action Blender said...

i am not saying that planners should act creative. that would be suicide actually. I am just saying that planners with a creative background may have an easier time working with creatives as 8:58 first suggested. we are actually in agreement, i think.

isabelle
dabgab.blogspot.com

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and this Hristos guy is a member of the Account Planning Group, who run the APG awards. They are those awards that someone else has mentioned on here, where where Planners take credit for the creative idea. Go figure.

11:06 PM  

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