My colleagues and I used to love to present to one particular client.
He was a very senior, very veteran, very smart guy. Whenever we would present, he would listen with great concentration. He would rarely interrupt. He would instead let us go through all the concepts and options we had prepared for his review.
When we were done, he would stand up to address us. We presented to him many times, but his initial response would always go something like this: “First, I want to thank all of you for your hard work. It's clear from the presentation that you put a tremendous amount of thought and effort into the assignment, and I appreciate that. And there are some terrific ads on the table. Now let's go through each of the concepts one by one so I can give you feedback.”
Sometimes the input was minor. Most of the time it was significant and as a result we had to re-concept. No one ever complained. Creative people loved this client and would do anything for him. We did work for him that was the best the agency could do.
What was this client's secret? It was simple. No matter what we presented, no matter how great, how good, or how average it was, this client invariably expressed respect for the work and the people who made it. That was a great lesson for me.
In my early days as an account person, I usually ran roughshod over creative people and their work. Writers and art directors would show me concepts and I'd immediately say what ...