Next, the creative director needs one creative team under them.
One copywriter and one art director. Doesn't sound like enough? One
creative team working with a talented creative director is more
than enough to provide a wealth of ideas and executions to complete
every deliverable. A creative's job is idea generation, and good
ones do just that.
Add to that a talented strategist, account director and producer
and you have what you need. Six people. That's it.
A while back I led a national quick-service restaurant account
with this outlined team of six employees, and at my next job I led
another QSR account with a creative fee about ten times larger and
the same outlined team of six employees.
Obviously, agencies can choose to staff their accounts
differently. Layers of account team members can be added for things
as frivolous as appearances and as necessary as matching the size
of its clients own marketing team. Money can be spent on different
testing and research tools, all of which is for the client's
comfort and rarely affects how the work is approached or the end
product itself. Just know that no matter how it's served up to you,
the actual service you're paying for, the discipline of creative
advertising, never really changes.
Now, of course, in any small or mid-sized company there can be a
place for the support of some junior staff, as well as a few
positions that support the entire agency's operations and output.
And on some very large accounts additions like a second creative
team could add to the works quality and turn-around time. But, it's
highly likely that the service you require does not take as many
people and as much time as most clients believe.
And, as most "big" accounts are at big agencies, there are more
drawbacks to consider. While a smaller agency is naturally more
team-oriented, large agencies, by their nature, tend to be
environments where individual employees often tend to care more
about themselves and their own careers. Creatives at big shops
often work quickly to finish one assignment to spend their time on
another one they think has more creative potential. I know big
agency account managers who have ended up actually writing TV
scripts after they couldn't manage to convince a creative to work
on their assignment. Large agencies are also good places for less
motivated people to hide, and spend their time avoiding rather than
It's inevitable as advertising evolves that, with a few
outliers, most great creative shops will consist of about 50
people, not hundreds. Marketers will still pay a premium for great
creative work, but not nearly the rates that some are paying now.
Agencies won't grow vertically, they'll grow horizontally.
Audiences are growing smaller and more segmented, but there will
still be a demand for effective, breakthrough creative advertising.
It will just be smaller groups of people with a higher
concentration of talent providing a better service and product.
While it may feel natural to equate the fame of your brand or
the size of your media buy with the actual size of the agencies
you're considering working with, the truth is that doesn't mean a
Eric Kallman is co-founder and creative director of ad
agency Erich & Kallman