What is the point of account management?

June 9, 2009

By Ramsey Naja, chief creative officer, JWT MENA

Normally, my reply to the above question would be that the only point account management deserves in its present form, is a full stop.

RamsyThis is not a creative’s cheap shot against what is arguably the most unfortunate bearer of bad news, even though such a messenger should indeed be given as much grief and verbal abuse as possible for perfectly sensible reasons I shall outline below. In fact, let me stop for a second and explain why creatives’ hatred of the traditional suit runs so deep.

I once enlisted the help of a renowned artist as part of a collaborative effort on a campaign. When his work was returned with “comments” he looked like a child who’s been told his favourite toy has been broken. He stormed out of the room – and the project. Thing is, artists don’t get comments, or rejections for that matter. They get exhibited, meet either plaudits or disdain and go away in a swarm of society ladies with solid hair. Creatives, however, are artists who do comments. And rejection. It’s a tough one, believe me, when your work bears the hallmarks of your personality and some coutured dude with starched teeth tells you the client thinks it stinks. It means you do.

You see, there are two types of suits: the postman and the business developer. I shall completely disregard what is called ‘client servicing’ because this is the territory of maids or hotel concierges and those with that title should be forced to wear frilly aprons or a gimp suit. The postman type is the messenger mentioned above and is so useless he can be replaced by pigeons. The business developer, however, is my type of suit. This species, at its best – made as it is of client relationship people and business wizards – brings a new form of glamour to an agency, with Fast Company-style knowledge, the wackiness of reading NASDAQ fluctuations through craigslist.com and the inevitable ability to make a client feel in good company and the agency on to a good thing.

To be continued…