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

Planning Planning …

So recently the nice folks at Miami Ad School sent me an email saying that as it is the 10th anniversary of their Account Planning Bootcamp, they would like planners around the World to give their perspective on 2 questions:

1. How has strategic planning changed through the past 10 years.

2. What is coming next.

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t really like these sorts of questions – mainly because I feel they attempt, consciously or not, to make the planning discipline appear aloof and exclusive when the reality is, we’re only successful when we help others be successful.

That doesn’t mean planners aren’t creative … nor does it mean we are only good for writing bloody presentations … however we will rarely see the full potential of our ideas if we don’t bring others along on our journey and let them take it to places better than we imagined.

I’ve said it before, but I see too many planners who think their job is about being intellectually victorious as opposed to being emotionally resonant and creatively inspiring so the last thing I want to do is propagate the ‘rockstar’ bullshit that some still regard as asprational.

So I answered each question like this.

1. How has strategic planning changed through the past 10 years.

It’s gone from the shadows into the spotlight.

This is great news, but let’s be careful, because planning should never be the star, it should always be the stage for great things to happen upon. [I know, terrible analogy. Apologies]

2. What is coming next.

I wish I knew. I could make something up but the fact is, there is no pre-determined destination … where it goes is up to us, so let’s not fuck it up.


I don’t know what the other planners asked to answer these questions said – and I’ll be very interested to know – but for me, I am hoping to hell they’re not encouraging planners to believe they are the ‘brains of advertising’, because as my Dad said … if you say you’re intelligent, then you’re not really that smart.


23 Comments so far
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Your answer is ok. Still planner bollocks but less planner bollocks than I was expecting. The real answers are 1) still here like a bad smell 2) some new tools with new names that do nothing except make planners think they’re special. They’re not and either are the tools.

Comment by DH

youre still being too fucking polite. as usual.

Comment by andy@cynic

Me or Dave?

Comment by Rob

BTW. Hope yesterday wasn’t too hard on you.

Comment by DH

+ 1

Comment by George

The only bit I like is the use of the word fuck.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You mean it’s the only bit you understand.

Comment by Bazza

Why are they asking advertising planners about strategic planning? You don’t do that. That’s not a dismissal of planners, it’s just a fact that backs up both your and your dad’s opinion about intellectualism.

Comment by john

Isn’t it because no one else would care or know what a planner is and does and that would burst their little bubble?

Comment by DH

In the spirit of positivity that I constantly cultivate, I couldn’t possibly comment.

Comment by john

I agree John. Part of the problem with the discipline is it’s so internal looking. Frightened to hear the opinions from the outside and too obsessed with being accepted as members of the inside. Not everyone is like this and this issue is not limited to the planning discipline, but I do think it would be good to hear from clients and creatives because you might get a broader view, a more valuable view and – as much as people might not like it – a more objective view.

Better still, it might make certain agency bosses who use planning and planners as a ‘powerpoint writing, fee justification department’ see there is potential if they let their people do their job. Might.

Comment by Rob

I am fairly certain your POV on planning will be more objective than those of the other planners asked.

Comment by George

Question 2 – Just quote the bumper sticker: “It takes crystal balls to be a futurist”

Comment by Ian Gee

balls. something no planner fucking has.

Comment by andy@cynic

The future is artificial intelligence planning …

Comment by john

hasnt that been what the fuckers have been using for the last 40 years?

Comment by andy@cynic

you’re welcome

Comment by john

why the fuck did they ask you? you and miami are hardly the best of fucking friends are you campbell. i mean the place not the parasite parity ad school fuckers.

Comment by andy@cynic

Me and Miami [the place, not the school] have a love/hate relationship.

We love to hate each other.

Comment by Rob

I was surprised when I saw you had got involved in something where planners talk about planning. Then I read your (very good) answers and saw they were designed to not appeal to the backslapping planner brigade, which is why I understand why you did take part.

Comment by Pete

Planners talking about planning, Blimey.
Great response though.
Sitting opposite creative agency planners these days, I’m constantly amazed how much over complex bollocks they spout. They also have a nasty habit of thinking they have to approve someone else’s thinking before it is any good – so tend to repeat what other have just said, but make it worse with the usual buzzwords and longer sentences.
Also makes it very easy to appear clever by speaking plain English.
Anyway, I’m only interested in knowing yesterday was OK Rob.

Comment by northern

Good answers to rather bland questions.

Like everyone else, I hope your mothers anniversary was not too hard on you. She would not want that and neither would I.

Comment by Lee Hill

Thanks folks, it was a tough day – for more reasons than just Mum, ironically – but we got through it.

Comment by Rob

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