"It’s up to the more experienced people
to guide this next generation. It all has
to do with respect. There’s a universal lack
of it nowadays."
photo by Bas de Graaf
THIS IS JORIS VAN ELK.COM
Joris van Elk on clients
After working at FHV BBDO Joris helped setting up KNP kreatie,
the inhouse agency for the Dutch telecom giant.
As more and more clients are setting up inhouse agencies there’s
a demand for experienced creatives and their network.
More and more clients are starting in house agencies. What’s your opinion on this development?
Splendid. And a huge relieve. There’s a lot of work where we charged our clients way too much money. Work that can easily be done by an intern unit. It takes less time, corrections can be done on the spot and clients feel much more involved. And overall that leaves more budget for concepting and for the execution of the work. As long as clients realize that they need external forces like strategy and creatives everything will work for the better. There needs to be some sort of independence to generate the best insights and best ideas. Once they are developed a lot can be done in house.
But many creatives will not work in house. Aren’t you afraid only the b-choice creatives end up at the clients side?
It’s true almost every creative needs diversity. But that can be solved easily. Create a pool of the best and make a rotating system. It keeps the work fresh and the creatives motivated.
Talking about problems. A lot of agencies and creatives are complaining about the marketing division at brands are getting younger and less experienced. Do you recognize that problem too?
There has always been a fair balance between young and old at every marketing division. If there’s already a problem it has to do with responsibility. The next generation is eager. They want to score and they want to score fast. That’s good. It keeps the pace at a high level. But they are also stubborn. It’s up to the more experienced people to guide this next generation. It all has to do with respect. There’s a universal lack of it nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about the young respecting the old. It’s about respecting the right decision. I respect people half my age when a see a brilliant idea or a daring decision. If you show respect for that step in the process you create the freedom needed to bring it to the next level.
What do you think of clients being creative themselves?
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s a disaster. Everybody has the ability to generate a good idea, but few have the ability to generate them constantly and that’s what necessary. And to come up with that very smart, very potential concept, you need to have some distance to the subject. Most clients are in it too deep. They know everything about their product or service. And that’s a very good quality. It should generate perfect briefings which lead to brilliant insights. But once the concept is generated there should be a mutual trust that you need creative professionals to produce and execute it.
But a lot of clients skip the creatives when it comes to execution and work directly with production companies?
I know, and that’s a huge mistake. Like every marketing division needs the tension between an independent creative unit, every production company needs the tension between the director and the creative. It generates better work for sure. Most directors are in it for their reel. They have a lack of basic commercial awareness. They are directing commercials to have a certain income so they can continue doing their own stuff. The creatives create the bridge between art and sales. Once you take out the creatives you’ll get a very client friendly producer and a very irritated director. And that will never lead to the best work. And there’s no one to value the work anymore, once the professional creatives are out. Most people think easy about what we are doing, but it is rocket science. And it is a profession. Once again: a little respect will lead to better work. It’s all we need.
And what do you think about the relationship between clients and the more regular agencies?
What do you mean?
Well, as more clients are having in house agencies, are regular advertising agencies still needed?
Yes, definitely. Not every client is progressive and a lot of clients love being serviced and are willing to pay some extra bucks. It might not be the most progressive thing, but not everything that has to do with advertising has to be new and hip and trendy.
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