I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Big. Important. Meetings.

The advertising and marketing industry is full of them.

They’re great, aren’t they? There are whiteboards. There are lots of nodding heads and affirmative smiles. Sometimes there are sandwiches.

Everyone leaves Big Important Meetings with a feeling of accomplishment.But when the corporate snacks have digested and the impressive diagrams long since wiped away – what’s left? Was that Big Important Meeting about as useful as a firm kick to the shins?

When is the last time you were in a meeting where you had the sinking realisation that you actually had no idea what was going on? Did a barrage of acronyms get the better of you? Perhaps a particularly crunchy mouthful of chips obscured a key point?

Or, did someone with a laser pointer and a $300 haircut say something so overtly ridiculous that you thought it was part of some genius that was completely beyond you?

Did you ask the gesticulating presenter to explain? Or, did you sit quietly in the corner, picking shards of Light & Tangy Thins from between your teeth? We should stop confusing confident talkers with people who know what they’re talking about.

I was once part of a Big Important Creative Brief for a beverage brand. A senior strategist with jeans tight enough to end his lineage had taken the floor. He launched into an extremely complicated overview of the challenges faced by the brand – I was instantly in over my head. Looking around the room I saw a number of sharply dressed creatives nodding along – scribbling notes and leaning forward attentively. Clearly I was the only one in the room without a clue. Fearing a severe case of egg-on-face I kept my mouth shut, and my hand down.

Over lunch, I asked one of the other creatives for the layman’s version of the brief. I was surprised when no answer was forthcoming. A beer later and my constant nagging won through – he’d completely lost track about five minutes in, and was too embarrassed to admit it.

Speaking to everyone individually, I heard similar stories – not a single one of my peers got anything out of the brief – except for the guy furiously scribbling ‘notes’. He had used his award winning creative mind to draw an exceptionally lifelike unicorn with a particularly phallic magical horn.

And you know what? We all do it.

Am I good at Big Important Meetings

In an industry that prides itself on staying ‘current’ – it seems we’re all petrified of admitting ignorance. It’s this kind of inaction, this passive dishonesty that makes advertising agencies look disorganised – and it kills clients. After all, how can you possibly give your client great work – when you can’t make sense of your own Big Important Meetings?

Imagine paying an agency thousands of dollars to generate creative and strategy, and realising that all the work is based on an incorrect interpretation of the brief. Imagine wasting weeks of work because the simple questions were never asked – is this actually the right audience? Is a Saint Bernard in leggings really representative of middle Australia? Is this really going to fix a problem?

People in the advertising and marketing industry must stop blindly assuming that everyone knows what they’re doing. Next time you’re faced with a table-full of snacks and a Big Important Meeting – suck it up and stop finding reasons to stay quiet. Ask the blatantly obvious. Ask the presenter to explain it with single syllable words. Ask them to talk to you as if you were the work experience kid or a Labrador. Force the important people in the room to stop hiding behind their acronyms and their expensive glasses. Stop assuming the basic stuff has been taken care of. Question the basic bits and interrogate everything else. Be honest with yourself and ask some questions.

If you don’t – your client will.




Please login with linkedin to comment

Cadbury Dairy Milk Merge YouTube

Latest News

Activation Union Hires Bree Mankin As Managing Partner
  • Media

Activation Union Hires Bree Mankin As Managing Partner

Activation Union is thrilled to announce the appointment of Bree Mankin as Managing Partner. In this pivotal role, Bree will spearhead the agency’s growth initiatives and client strategy, leveraging her extensive experience and innovative approach in delivering exceptional results for her clients. With over two decades of experience in marketing and communications, Bree is a […]

Red Rooster Creates First Wearable Tech To Satisfy Chicken Cravings, Via whiteGREY
  • Campaigns

Red Rooster Creates First Wearable Tech To Satisfy Chicken Cravings, Via whiteGREY

What do you do when the market dominated by the US fast food giants continually steals attention through marketing spend? You shortcut the decision process with a piece of creative technology that lets your stomach order on your behalf in the moment of hunger. Australia’s first and favourite chicken shop Red Rooster (Reds) has launched […]

Toyota Launches Integrated Electric Vehicle Campaign Via HERO
  • Campaigns

Toyota Launches Integrated Electric Vehicle Campaign Via HERO

Toyota Australia has launched its highly anticipated new all-electric vehicle, the bZ4X, on Australian shores through a nationwide integrated campaign. Spearheaded by a big spot, the campaign was created by independent creative agency HERO, which sees a typical EV sceptic named Barry behind the wheel of an all-new Toyota bZ4X much to the surprise of […]

Canva Launches First Ever Podcast: Design Surfaces
  • Media

Canva Launches First Ever Podcast: Design Surfaces

Canva has announced its very first podcast: Design Surfaces. Covering all areas of design, from brand campaigns to UX flows, the podcast digs deep into the intricate parts of designers’ brains to unearth valuable insights, unique perspectives, and what makes them tick. The Design specialty at Canva is made up of some of the most […]

SBS Launches Development Fund To Find Australia’s Next Top Documentaries
  • Media

SBS Launches Development Fund To Find Australia’s Next Top Documentaries

SBS is searching for its most daring, unflinchingly fearless and boundary-smashing factual format yet, issuing a call out for impactful ideas for new documentary series unlike anything seen on Australian screens before, with up to $50,000 in development funding on offer. Announced this morning at the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in Melbourne, SBS is […]

Resolution Nabs Sarah Truong From PHD
  • Advertising

Resolution Nabs Sarah Truong From PHD

Full-service media agency Resolution has appointed Sarah Truong as head of investment to lead the agency’s investment product. Sarah joins from PHD where she was Group Investment Director for half a decade. With 14 years’ experience in the media industry including seven years at media agency, Carat, Sarah a proven track record for delivering results-driven […]

Brisbane Unveils Bold New Tourism Campaign
  • Campaigns

Brisbane Unveils Bold New Tourism Campaign

Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) has launched a new domestic tourism campaign, Brisbane Favours the Bold, this week, appealing to those who search for the unexpected to discover the new Brisbane. Created in partnership with VML and dentsu Queensland, the campaign aims to redefine perceptions of Queensland’s thriving capital, strengthen awareness of Brisbane’s leisure offering, […]

Elle Returns To Australia
  • Media

Elle Returns To Australia

Are Media, Australia’s leading omnichannel content company for women, today unveiled the keenly anticipated first issue of the new ELLE Australia magazine. The 244-page Bright Young Things issue – featuring actor Sophie Wilde on the cover – clearly stamps ELLE Australia as the fashion bible for smart, stylish Gen Z and millennial women who love […]

Potential Fallout For The Sydney Roosters In The Wake Of Racial Slur Allegations
  • Marketing

Potential Fallout For The Sydney Roosters In The Wake Of Racial Slur Allegations

The Sydney Roosters are facing a huge amount of fallout over allegations that Spencer Leniu made an on-field racial slur against Broncos player Ezra Mam in yesterday’s Las Vegas season opener. Mam filed an official complaint against Leniu after the Roosters prop allegedly called the Broncos five-eighth a “monkey” on the field. Leniu tried to […]

Nominate Your Marketing Heroines: ADMA Celebrates Women’s Achievements On International Women’s Day 2024
  • Marketing

Nominate Your Marketing Heroines: ADMA Celebrates Women’s Achievements On International Women’s Day 2024

To celebrate International Women’s Day, The Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA), has launched a new initiative to honour and spotlight the dynamic women in the marketing sector across the country. Lead image: ADMA Website This year, as the world embraces the theme #InspireInclusion for International Women’s Day on March 8, ADMA is asking […]

Nine.com.au & Drive Join Forces To Launch P-Plate Drive Safe Campaign
  • Campaigns

Nine.com.au & Drive Join Forces To Launch P-Plate Drive Safe Campaign

With the Easter break historically one of the busiest on our roads, Nine.com.au and Drive today launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the importance of defensive driver training courses. Too many young drivers are killed or injured on our roads each year. Younger drivers are the most overrepresented group in this tragic statistic, […]