How creatives and planners work together Tim Delaney and David Wright

David Wright left and Tim Delaney left in the dark suitsTim Delaney and David Wright’s paper about how Creative and Planning work together

Tim Delaney is a founder of Leagas Delaney and David Wright was the planning director who had been with the agency from Day 1. Tim is pictured with the pink halo! David Wright is the other one in a dark suit. Ron Leagas by the way is on the left.  They were still a relatively new agency when this paper was given. New enough to brag that they started their agency with no clients at all! So had a blank sheet of paper when it came to deciding how they would develop advertising.  Tim Delaney has a fearsome reputation for giving planners a hard time. But he is no less demanding of his creative teams.

So let’s start by giving you the paper to read: Working together Tim Delaney David Wright Nov 1983

There are a number of great points in this very opinionated paper – nothing vanilla about it.

It is interesting that they think that by the early 80s brand advantage has cancelled out and that part of the job of advertising is to differentiate. Because brands can’t do this by themselves.

There is a solid push back against the Boase Massimi Pollitt method for developing advertising which involved a cycle of taking advertising ideas out to discussion groups. Then reworking the advertising based on consumer response.  Leagas Delaney won’t do this. They argue that it is wasteful of creative time and thoroughly demotivating for the creatives.  So they want development  research to be concluded before the brief is written.  So the planner is clear what the goal of the advertising is.  This does not mean that the work should not be researched prior to the campaign being made – they are not that arrogant. But they don’t want to call it pretesting. Another pushback against the BMP model which called it that – because as far as they are concerned it isn’t a test.

There is a really interesting observation about customer response. The planner should be focussed on what the customer response will shift to after the campaign is run. So they also reject the idea of the planner being the voice of the consumer. The people’s tribune in the agency. The planner has no business representing current opinions.  The job is to create new and different opinions. So how to do that?

Tim Delaney asks for controlled subjectivity – he doesn’t believe planners can be objective or that they should be

There’s definite push back against the ‘objectivity’ of the planner.  Even with quantitative data the planner is promulgating a point of view.  They suggest ‘controlled subjectivity’ and the interplay of a range of specialists right across the account team.

Planner are encouraged to create their own adcepts by way of briefing in advertising. Even to the extent of markers and spray mount. But its interesting that the primary benefit is less getting the brief right than the planner developing an empathy for the creative team.

There is a gem about the role of advertising reinforcing existing behaviour and beliefs rather than trying to change them. When did the industry forget that truth?

My favourite bit is about allowing 3 months to develop a creative route. Those were the days!

What I take out of this paper overall is the skill of the planner less as an intellectual than someone capable of working with creatives and collaborating. This creative director wants planners who are helpful and not dogmatic ‘confusing means with ends’.

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