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18 Things That Make Ad Agencies Cringe

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In the world of advertising, there are two sides -- you are either the agency or you are the client. I've spent my fair share of time on both sides of the fence and have been in the industry long enough to know the relationship dynamic between both sides. I am especially familiar with some of the things that really get under an agency's skin, so I present you with 18 things that make ad agencies cringe (and their response behind closed doors).

1. When reviewing the TV storyboards...
"I don't like the way this character looks in Frame #5 can you redraw him to look more local?"
It's a storyboard....everything is for-placement-only, but if you want to spend the money to have something redrawn that no one else will see other than you...no problem.

2. On a hot ad that's due today...
"Hey sorry this ad is super-hot and it's due today can we see a layout as soon as possible? Sorry, we had the job a few days ago but we were debating whether or not we wanted to run the ad."
Maybe you should have at least given us a heads up when you knew about it? Just sayin'.

3. Changes in the online edit session...
"We didn't think about it until now but we'd like to go ahead and change this -- or -- can we make a :15 spot instead of the :30 we had originally planned or what about...."
Newsflash, that's why you were at the shoot, that's why there's an offline edit session, that's why.....

4. On getting a production estimate...
"We want everything in there, let's throw in a song by Pearl Jam too, how much would that cost us? Oh what about getting Justin Timberlake in the spot, then all the in-branch stuff can have Justin on them too! Get us an estimate please..."
One week, 72 man hours and 32 phone calls later, after expecting the estimate one day later... "Wow that's a lot I think we'll need to pass but good to know for future reference."

5. Timelines...
"I'm requesting a job open for an ad, can we see a layout sometime tomorrow or the day after? The ad isn't actually due for a couple weeks but we have to route it with everyone on our end."
How about giving us at least a week if the ad isn't due for a couple of weeks?

6. On too much white space...
"Hmm this ad seems a bit too simple maybe we can add a few more selling points in the blank area?"
...

7. Ad sizes...
"We want to buy a quarter page ad, but can you fit this half page of copy in the ad? I'm sure you'll make it look good. Oh and please add a photo as well and make sure the ad doesn't look too busy."
....the copy won't fit in the ad, please trim it...
"How about not but just make the logo a tad smaller. Oh wait not the logo how about the picture?"
...that won't work...
[one sentence comes off] "How about now?"
...that still won't work as you can see the copy on half a page is larger than the entire quarter-page ad...
"Can you just take the copy then and rewrite it to fit the ad?"
>:(

8. The day before the ad runs in a publication...
"I've been informed that our facts have changed, can we call up the publication and either pull the ad or have them correct it?"
We could call up the publication and get an answer for you, but let me just save both of us some time and tell you they'll say no.

9. On pictures...
"Why do I need to pay for stock photos or hire a photographer? I can just use my digital camera and give you a few photos."
Do you want the technical answer? Would you even understand it?

10. When a client opens a job and sends you a layout in Microsoft Word...
"Can you recreate exactly how this ad looks for us?"
Here's an idea, why don't you just submit the ad that you did yourself?

11. On concepting using scripts or key frames...
"Mmm these are good but I can't visualize it, can you do some rough layouts on all of them?"
All of them?? Of course there's no complaints about the production cost when the invoice is sent out....

12. The day before the shoot...
"I've been thinking can we tweak the concept? Maybe add another person and a horse? That won't affect the shoot right?"
Uhh...

13. PhotoShop...
"PhotoShop can do anything right? Can't you just take this picture and change day to night and replace his head with hers and turn the rain into flower petals while adding 3 inches to him...?"
Um sure...

14. When not happy with images in layouts...
"I found and pulled these photos from the web, can we use them instead?"
Of course this is always a common occurrence with the same answer each time...

15. When reviewing their website...
"This is cool but how can we get more 'bells & whistles' while staying within budget?"
Trust us, if the budget were bigger you would've got a lot more bells & whistles.

16. Miscommunication?
[meeting ends as] "...okay well....hmm let us huddle on our end and get back to you on the messages we need to communicate." [a week passes] "So hey did you guys concept those layouts based on our meeting last week?"
If we had the messages, sure we could have done that.

17. Social Media Marketing...
"This is so much cheaper than some of our traditional media, I think we should start heading in this direction" to be followed by "How come no one is liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter?"
It's probably because you're posting 1 thing every 5 minutes or 5 things every 1 minute.

18. On creative direction...
"How about you put an image of ______ here and maybe put the copy above it? Let's enlarge this and see if you can move this down a tad while maintaining the balance of the ad...or how about a cowboy hat on top of the logo? Oh and while you're at it, make the logo bigger by about 20 percent."
Everyone's an art and creative director I guess.

And to all of you on the client side out there, remember don't take it the wrong way, you are the reason why ad agencies exist! I've personally been guilty for some of the items above as a client!