Advertising Clients & Deadlines

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Client deadlines.

Ok, some are real. Like when my clients including Northwest Airlines (remember them before Delta ate them?) had to get a low fare retail ad in tomorrow’s newspaper (remember them?) Or when Nike needed to get an ad that included last minute winning college teams into the on the press Bowl Champion Series (BCS) game day magazine. But, often, the deadlines were, at best, a bit more shall we say, loose.

Now, I like deadlines. It forces all of us in advertising to get the job done. But, sometimes deadlines also force us to deliver work that isn’t what we’d call our best. You know, your best idea will come in tomorrow’s shower. Or the image could use even more photoshoping. Or, maybe that logo could be even smaller. In these cases, deadlines can be debilitating.

Here’s a post on deadlines from my friends at James and Matthew + Company, an agency in Massachusetts. Matt writes about doing the RIGHT thing, an often tough thing, by telling a client with a deadline that the agency just needs a bit more time.  Here is the outcome from James’s blog post.

Regarding my fears above, here was the result:

We all got so inspired by my unwillingness to compromise that what we came up with was lightyears ahead of what we had originally developed.

My client was able to come around to understanding and I think I might have gained a little more respect in them knowing that I will not compromise on the work I produce for them. The project is on the right track and everyone is behind it with a new sense of vigor.

My take away… being true to excellence and taking a little bit more time to get things right is a good thing and the good clients will get this and love you even more. But, don’t tell retailers that you’ll get them that perfect ad the day after Black Friday.

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