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client relations | truth in advertising

The first day of each class, I’d make the students recite, “Never give the clients what they ask for.” After everyone finished laughing, I’d explain that we’re supposed to be the experts on presentation. Although clients usually don’t know how to light a shot or cut a montage, they are the ultimate experts on what they want to say and on what rubs them the wrong way. So there’s a second half to that mantra: “Always give the clients what they want.” Inevitably, what they want is excellence, even if they don’t know how to ask for it.

Absolutely true. Well said, Jay Rose. From the latest issue of DV.COM (free registration required).

He goes on to add this bit of wisdom:

But I’ve always believed the key to success in this or any business is to give the client a reason to choose you.

It can be a low price, but if we’re all competing on price, then budgets start dropping and nobody wins. It makes more sense to compete by being better at some aspect of the work than anybody else in your market.

There is a general tendency now for all clients across the board to demand prices which will not generate a living wage for all concerned. And quality drops further and further.

In North America, no one particularly seems to care. The average daily aesthetic experience for a North American is a horror show.

The day begins with radio announcers literally screaming in your ear. Along with their advertisers.

It continues with hideous print billboards and wretched above ground wiring in ugly neighbourhoods (except for a privileged few) as they drive to work.

The day is passed under florescent lights in stale air in an office tower or a mall office or a strip mall, surrounded by horrid furniture chosen for its pallid colour scheme.

Lunch is synthetic fast food of some kind or another. Even the health food eater must contend with the fruit from the local supermarket that is bright, red and utterly tasteless, .

If our denizen of every day is lucky enough to pass by the bar on the way home, he or she is likely to find a tv blaring in one corner, a bland wall to wall carpet and advertising on all the walls.

The drive home is more of the same overcranked radio announcers and ugly advertising unless it’s after dark. Nobody in the house has the strength for cooking by the time all are home from extended work days so heaven only knows what they eat.

Evening television is now one third advertising – almost all of it ugly, glarish and blaring – enough to stupefy a hundred caged monkeys in an hour.

Is it any wonder the clients are asking for the wrong thing?

And so the downward cycle continues.

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