When one has to keep clients happy all the time, sometimes a little white lie here or there goes a long way. Digiday, a media publication and events company asked a handful of agency folks — who, for obvious reasons, will remain anonymous — to share some of the most common white lies they tell clients.
The Lie: “That’s a great idea!"
The Truth: “Sometimes it’s tough telling a client that their idea stinks,” said one anonymous agency creative. “We’ll either have to improve their idea or come up with a much better one.”
The Lie: “We can make that budget work.”
The Truth: “Sometimes budgets suck but the project is cool and we really wanna make the work,” said the anonymous creative.
The Lie: “Yes all the agencies are working really well together – we’re a fully integrated team.”
The Truth: “Most of the time the various agencies — planning, media, creative — don’t like each other and have no idea what each other is doing,” admitted an agency employee.
The Lie: “Your account is the agency’s No. 1 priority.”
The Truth: “We’d say that to all of our clients,” said an agency staffer.
The Lie: “We’re really excited to hear your feedback!”
The Truth: The subtext that comes with that, as one creative explained, is, “We’re also fearful of you killing our ideas.”
The Lie: Every case study.
The Truth: “OK, our case studies aren’t exactly lies, but would we stand behind them as God’s honest truth, like under oath? We’re trying to tell the most compelling story we can in 90 seconds, recognizing that you’re going to be checking your email and doing maybe three other things while pretending to watch it,” said the creative. “So cut us a little slack, but don’t ask us too many questions about the project the case study is about, because it’s barely an actual thing that exists in the world — I mean, it’s real to us. That counts, right? This is how we wanted to make it, if only we had been given the chance. Hey, the iPhone was a barely functioning prototype when Steve Jobs unveiled it to the world. This is kind of the same thing. Kind of.”