We Love You, But No

Here we are, in a meeting with a client brainstorming the myriad possibilities for a campaign.  The excitement is in the air and everyone is offering tons of ideas – it’s collaboration central!  Then, it happens, the person signing the check says “I want it all! I want something outrageous! I want something cool!” This is the moment where we, as brand stewards, have to say “We love you, but no.”  This is not to say that our client doesn’t know what they’re talking about or understand relevancy.  However, it’s in the excitement and the media hype that sometimes we lose what makes sense. 

It’s a hard thing to be brutally honest in the face of someone so earnest ( and with a pen ready to sign a scope ) but it’s a core philosophy of BBTF’s to push clients to think harder and more deeply about what it is they want. It’s important to distinguish between what’s the right thing to do and a client’s desire to do something cool ( for cool’s sake ).  We believe in this though, enough that we’ve had to tell clients “We love you, but no.”  We’ve seen so many campaigns that were just bells and whistles and had no meaning or motivation or foundation to them.  I’m sorry but the audience is smarter than that.  Do something useful, do something with purpose, even if you have to take a risk and say NO to get it. Your client may not be happy about it, or you may lose business over it – there are plenty of “Yes men” out there that will do whatever the client asks them to do.  It’s your job to do work that not only elevates brands but engages the audience.  It’s your job to make sure that the digital landscape is not filled with crap.  It’s your job to save clients from themselves, your agency reputation depends on it.