So there’s an age old debate whether planners are of any value to adland.
Despite being one for almost all my working life, I agree that there are a lot of things wrong with what modern day planning has become.
To be fair, this is less about the discipline and more about how some companies – and planners – work.
Sadly, too many view planning [and planners] as either a tool to charge clients incredible amounts for creating over–complicated, ultimately meaningless, powerpoint documents [mainly because they’ve sold the value of creativity down the river] or a license to act like they’re a cross between the second coming of Christ and Einstein.
And to those companies and planners, I say fuck you … because planning can contribute a lot to [commercial] creativity and all you’re doing with your actions is destroying its validity and credibility.
In my mind, our job is to perform 3 things:
+ Understand what’s really going on in the minds and heads of society. [Not the things they say, if anything, the things they’re not saying]
+ Identify the fundamental problem that we need to solve to liberate our clients potential. [Both now and in the future]
+ Stimulate, encourage & inspire our broader creative colleagues to be braver, bolder and more exciting in their response to the problem at hand.
Our job certainly doesn’t stop once the brief has been written … in fact, in some respects, that’s where it starts … and ‘planner’ certainly isn’t code for writing countless, pointless powerpoint documents.
Sure, writing and presenting is part of the job … but it’s purpose is to help drive better work, not encourage clients to be more closed-minded which is why I have this [admittedly stupid] view that if you write a presentation and people never refer back to it, you’ve contributed to the confusion, not clarity.
Anyway, a few months ago, someone wrote in to Campaign magazine slagging off planners.
Not just slagging them off, but character assassinating them.
OK, so some of the things they said were fair – at least in the context of the sort of planners who I think need a kicking [who in my book, should be called ‘Pretenders’ rather than ‘Planners’] – but I still was upset this sort of attitude was being expressed in such a condescending and generalistic tone.
Are some planners crap?
Do some planners add nothing except more obstacles?
Do some planners think they’re geniuses despite having never made anything other than a creative brief?
Do some planners confuse being interesting with saying [other people’s] interesting things?
Do some planners forget the creative teams are friends, not enemies?
Do some planners forget we are judged on the output, not the input?
But let me tell you, planners don’t hold the monopoly in that shit … there’s plenty of creatives, suits, MD’s and almost everyone in-between that have those same misguided, deluded, myopic opinions.
As do people in almost every industry from banking to policing.
So I decided I couldn’t let it pass.
Yes, I know it serves no purpose.
Yes, I know it won’t convince the doubters to change their opinion.
Yes, I know I am basically ‘biting’ to an idiots proclamations but, unlike research companies who seem to never stand up against idiots making a mockery of their industry, I think it’s important to fight for what you believe in when it is being openly challenged – even if you’re being challenged by a myopic fool who, for all I know, has only ever worked in a company that employs wannabe-geniuses who end up just writing complicated powerpoint documents no one reads to  justify their job  keep their delusions alive – which is why I wrote this:
Is it immature?
Errrrrm, of course it is – this is me we’re talking about – but daft views deserve equally daft responses so regardless of what happens, I feel I can look at myself in the mirror because I’ve stood up for what I believe … and as the old maxim goes, if you don’t stand for something, you might fall for anything.
Don’t mistake this post as my attempt to stoke the fires of Planners vs Creatives – it’s not and never will be because I respect, love & need my broader creative colleagues – if anything, it’s simply a rant against prejudice [& shit planners] which is why one of the best bits of advice I ever got was before you start questioning others, take a long hard look at yourself first.
Oooooh, I feel so much better after that, have a top weekend.
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