The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Attention To Detail …
September 2, 2010, 6:46 am
Filed under: Comment

Contrary to popular character assassination, I’m quite a laid back person – however there are some things that are guaranteed to make me go a bit loopy and one of those is when people don’t pay attention to the little things.

The photo above was taken at a travel agent I passed and the Concorde plane was in their window.

Apart from the plane no longer being in service, the fact the ‘nose’ has snapped off just makes the impression of the company even worse. Seriously, are you going to book a holiday with an organisation that can’t even get it’s window display right?

I remember a few years ago having a meltdown before a pitch because some of the bulbs in our meeting room needing changing.

I appreciate it might not appear a big deal and that it would be nice to think clients care more about the quality of the work than the environment, but apart from the fact that is [sadly] not true, if you can’t be bothered to get those things right, what’s to say you can’t get their details right either.

There’s a very famous story about the rock band Van Halen who used to demand huge bowls of M&M’s at all their concerts but with all the brown ones taken out.

For years people used to use this as a perfect example of Rock Star arrogance/power/pettines/excess [though I did also hear some people said it showed the band were racist devil worshipers!] however a while back I was lucky enough to meet their then manager who – when I asked him what the M&M situation was all about – explained it wasn’t something the band wanted, it was something he wanted.

You see he was of the view that if a promoter paid attention to ensuring there were no brown M&M’s backstage, he would probably have ensured the countless other demands and requirements of the group were also executed to their liking/standards … so contrary to popular belief that this was all about feeding the ego of some Rock Stars, it was actually a test as to how trusted a person/company could be.

Evil genius.

So next time someone complains your powerpoint chart slightly covers the clients logo or the fonts are inconsistent or the picture is too low-res [more pet peeves of mine] don’t roll your eyes, fix the bloody thing because you never know how many factors you may be being judged on – and while that might sound quite sad or shitty – I would remind you that in life, we rarely ever evaluate people or brands on just one thing so we shouldn’t expect clients to act any differently.


42 Comments so far
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First. I am the King.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Now I’ve read the post I have some comments to make in my new capacity of blog commented king.

1. You are not laid back, you’re a pain in the ass with your quirky (read freaky) ways.
2. I was there at the light bulb incident and you went off like a tired italian 5 year old who has been on espresso and e numbers.
3. Van Halen stopped being good in 1985.
4. You’ve just fucked my admiration of early VH with the truth behind the M&M demands.
5. Did I mention I was first today?

Comment by Billy Whizz

1. I’m only not laid back when I deal with idiots, hence your false perception of me.

2. Guilty.

3. And your point is …

4. Tops.

5. Loser.

Comment by Rob

i read on the toilet door you always come first billy.

Comment by andy@cynic

OH SNAP!!

Comment by Age

Zing!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

good description of campbells melt down billy. personally i think thats the fuckers default state and he only becomes socially acceptable when hes being a fucking groupie to someone he worships (me. his mum and wife. his reflection) or is afuckingsleep.

like the last point of the post. not thought of it that way but its true because ive always needed my women to meet a number of criteria if you know what i mean.

Comment by andy@cynic

Take all your money and ruin your life?

Comment by DH

no, that was their fucking criteria.

Comment by andy@cynic

If only clients were as cunning as Van Halen’s old manager. I know why you’re saying is right and important (your last point is especially good) but I still feel there’s too many clients who make their decision purely on how much their ego has been massaged rather than any deep evaluation amd consideration of the work.

Comment by Pete

youre becoming very much like the new and very fucking much improved northern groper these days pete. well fucking done.

Comment by andy@cynic

and well done to you campbell for not rehashing the “name the one thing you love about your mum” steve henry quote, though his is still definitely a fuckload better than your attempted update.

Comment by andy@cynic

You are a genius at the bank handed compliment. Top work.

Comment by Rob

Fair point Pete … but as I said to Rafik’s comment below, it’s about who you deal with [or should I say, who you ensure you deal with] that ultimately ensures the decisions made are with clarity for the business not just massages for the ego.

As we both well know, it doesn’t always work – but as much as I hate to lose, it’s better to go out having done the right thing than winning just because you’ve set yourself up to be their slave until they decide they want someone to stoop even lower.

Comment by Rob

Great post Rob, thanks for this. and to Pete’s point, I wonder if there is an optimal way of massaging the client’s ego, having a bang on strategy all while avoiding light bulb issues and logos being covered with pie charts.

It’s probably how big pitches are won. If you also happen to be engaged to the client’s sister.

Comment by rafik

Well the best way to do it is deal with the ultimate decision maker – the person whose role is to drive the business, not just the marketing … however if that is impossible to engineer [which is an issue in itself], I still believe it can be done – though the issue, for me at least, is how far are you prepared to go because while I’m all for making a positive impression, that does not extend to subserviency even though some agencies not only practice it, but actively encourage it. [Clean clients cars during meetings anyone?]

Comment by Rob

‘Clean clients cars during meetings anyone?’
sounded like a joke at first, then sent shivers down the spine

Comment by Jacob

This is a planner-light post. Good morning.

Comment by The Kaiser

In the fourth paragraph “needing changing” should read “needed changing” And in title there should not be a gap between the final “L” and the ellipsis. Other than that you make some good points about attention to detail. Now let’s see if you’re laid-back.

Comment by John

Thank you for your help and advice Mr Dodds, I appreciate your comments because I know you are doing this to help me be better. It is very kind of you. But you’re still a smart-arsed bastard.

Comment by Rob

But that’s why we love him.

Comment by The Kaiser

You missed out correct, but thank you and the kaiser for the acknowledgment and love. And you were absolutely right about the lightbulbs – that’s a great example.

In his defence, I’m sure Billy was simply waiting for delivery of the ladder that would have allowed him to complete that task.

Comment by John

You misspelled pettiness.

I’m a pedant too.

Comment by Marcus Bowlingus

Keep walking Marcus

Comment by northern

wrong Marcus NP.

Comment by The Kaiser

Oddly apt that I should fail on detail on a thread about detail (it’s not another pseudonym then)

Comment by northern

nope. It’s not me.

Comment by The Kaiser

You know my skills with typos and grammar, so I’m in no position to comment on this.
Hold on, actually I am – when I was an account exec, my contact reports and spreadsheets were absoluteley perfect, because I checked them again and again.
Unfortunately for the Next Generation of Planners, it was my job to sift CV’s and stuff at TBWA to decide who would get interviews for internships and graduate schemes. Any CV’s with errors in them got binned, which means I probably missed out on some great talent – but it didn’t matter, there was plenty that could b arsed to get the little things right AND were great.
Not even the hotties that included a picture got through.

Comment by northern

We once got sent a door – a physical door – with a trainer stuck in it with the message “Trying to get a foot in the door”.

The fact we returned it to sender still makes me feel guilty to this day.

Comment by Rob

you fucking wimp campbell. i dont feel guilty, it still rocks my fucking world.

Comment by andy@cynic

“Ooh… they spelt something wrong”

< Then spends the rest of presentation looking for errors instead of listening to your strategy and creative.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

ooh – mr mortimer reminded me about a post not-so-long ago, in which we both bitched about people who counted how often you swore or said ‘um’ in a presentation. and that they were narrow-sighted, pedantic fuckers who wouldn’t ever listen and would probably never be able to see the forest for the big ‘fuck you’ carved into a tree.

now, i know that pedantry is different to having attention to detail (i’m married to dodds, remember), but don’t you think that it’s this difference in priority (you can say ‘um’ as many times as you like, so long as the images are hi-res) is the particular domain of the person you’re working with?

and that ‘attention to detail’ is not, in fact, universal?

i worked with someone who was way more pedantic about stuff than i was and yet, would be fine with having signage in the front of the shop slightly wonky (drove me bonkers). but his business consistently topped sales and regular (high $$) customers month after month, year after year.

does it really just come down to ‘know thy audience’?

Comment by lauren

how the fuck are you going to know if your audience is wonky sign accepting or not? unless youre a fucking witch. or clever. i prefer witch.

Comment by andy@cynic

i don’t. but they sure as hell kept coming into the store. which means that they weren’t wonky-sign-hating. ie: they couldn’t give a fuck.

Comment by lauren

you should of said witch.

Comment by andy@cynic

i almost did. but sacrificed wordplay in light of the current theme of pedantry. doddsy needs no encouragement.

Comment by lauren

Someone once told me they purposely make a mistake on a slide and acknowledge it, “I must be working too hard”, makes them more personable.

Comment by Jacob

oi auntie. sound like anyone we know?

Comment by andy@cynic

Things that annoyed me in a PPT yesterday:
– Slide title jumped a few pixels from one slide to next (stick to the template)
– Colors throughout didn’t match (not all reds are alike…learn to visit the RGB values)
– A column of images were not aligned
– Bullet points didn’t match throughout
– Images cut off the background design of the company’s PPT template
– Footer was different on some slides

Sloppy, sloppy soppy. Glad to know my PPT OCD has found acceptance.

Comment by Rob M

Your application to W+K has been approved, please catch first flight to Shanghai immediately.

And what the fuck are you doing up at this time Mr M???

Comment by Rob

[…] [If you don't know what that has to do with Van Halen – or why was actually a moment of attention-to-detail genius, go here] […]

Pingback by A Little Love Goes A Long Way … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

[…] [If you do not know what that has to do with Van Halen – or why was truly a second of consideration-to-element genius, go here] […]

Pingback by A Little Love Goes A Lengthy Method … | Posts




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