25 things you wished clients knew

25 things that I crowdsourced from friends in the industry, a few points where compiled from multiple people saying the same thing. The names are concealed to protect the guilty – enjoy.

Advertising / design

  • No I don’t want to whip a complete campaign for a client (re)pitch just because X agency told you that they’d do it for free – its one of the great lies along with ‘I love you’
  • The principle of negative space, having your logo fill it won’t have the effect that you want
  • Out of the three design choices you will get from me, only two are viable. Whilst I want you to feel in control, I have gamed your selection in favour of the two concepts most likely to work
  • Your mother, wife or child isn’t a viable focus group / definitive form of research. There is an industry term for this it’s called HIPPO syndrome

Client services / planning

  • I am not your friend, at some point we may become friends despite our client / agency minion relationship
  • 3am in the morning in my time zone is not an appropriate time for a conference call
  • Unless the agency minion is dedicated on one client, they will have other demands on their work day in addition to your business
  • No I don’t want to over-service your business (that is work more time on the business than we are paid for on a regular basis)
  • I don’t feel that it is appropriate to spend two hours discussing your lanyard strategy as it relates to internal communications and change management (true story)
  • A recent case study of your rival doing exactly the same tactics does not mean it will work for your brand
  • Only in an exceptionally few cases is ‘everybody’ a target market, even then you will want to prioritise


  • Off-the-record is not off-the-record
  • Journalists generally won’t allow you to pre-approve their copy unless you are paying them (its native advertising / advertorial) or its a top tier celebrity / sports star interview
  • A strap line from advertising is not your PR messaging
  • The messaging workshop you’ve been invited along to is likely media training for people who feel that they don’t need media training
  • Unless you’re Samsung (in Korea) or a few other select advertisers, you withdrawing ad spend won’t affect editorial policy towards your company in a positive manner
  • In a disagreement with a journalist / publication you won’t get the last word
  • You aren’t spending enough on measurement of your programme (allow 30 per cent of your budget)

Social media marketing

  • Viral videos are a myth, roughly half the views are bought on the most successful examples
  • Social reach is best achieved through paid means, it won’t nearly be as big if you rely on earned alone
  • Generally speaking, consumers haven’t been gagging for the opportunity to engage with your brand content
  • Social media is not some that you should just leave to the intern
  • Celebrities will generally want money to plug your product or service on their social channels
  • Klout scores have no place in any serious social media-related discussion
  • More followers is not a social media strategy

More information
Don’t Attempt to Create a Viral Video Unless You’re Willing to Pay for Distribution | Ad Week