Why We Fight

I really hate the phrase “good enough”. It’s a quitter’s phrase and one that reeks of defeat. And while I can’t prove that it’s said out loud thousands of times every day in agencies all across the country, the preponderance of mediocre work out there would suggest that a lot of people are at least whispering it.

But for a handful of agencies “good enough”, just isn’t. These are the AE’s, planners and creatives who have the drive and passion to fight for something better. They can be uncompromising, combative, annoying, cranky pains in the ass…but the industry needs them. In fact, we need more of them.

I think conflict makes us sharper. It keeps us on our toes and puts us on notice that more is expected of our efforts and that we will each be held accountable.

It’s about keeping our standards high and not settling.

Developing a great insight isn’t easy. Coming up with a great idea based on that insight is harder still. Selling that idea to the client ups the challenge further. Lastly, there are so many ways a great idea can be made average during the execution phase that it’s a wonder anything noteworthy ever gets produced.

If every step of the process doesn’t have a champion (or two) willing to fight and protect and persevere, then you might as well not do any of it.

Why? Because if we don’t put time and energy and care into crafting interesting messages, why should we expect anyone out there to care? What better way to show consumers that your client really does appreciate their business and respects their time than by rewarding their attention with a compelling idea, message and execution.

If you just slap a message out there, you’re not really marketing or building brands, you’re getting tasks off your plate. It’s the advertising equivalent of getting up in the morning, throwing on a hat and some sweats and heading to a job interview. Sure, it’s better than showing wearing nothing, but are you really going to impress?

If, as creative agencies and people, we really want to make a difference in our client’s brands, our companies and our industry, we need to constantly fight for something better.

A better strategy. A better idea. A better execution. A better typeface. A better director. A better…whatever. Because the ball can be dropped at any point along the way and suddenly what you’ve worked for becomes remarkably average.

And average doesn’t make a difference.

That’s the ultimate reason why we willfully subject ourselves to the conflict, agony and meeting awkwardness that so often comes with pushing for a higher standard.

Ok, that and because advertising would completely suck if we didn’t.