Good Client – Bad Client – 30 Things All Clients Should Know About Working with Their Ad Agency

Mar 13


Found this Youtube clip featuring JWT senior creatives talk about good clients vs. bad clients:

“To truly inspire great work, what do great clients do? What should they avoid doing?”


Here are the key points:

1. Enthusiasm – have a lot of it, share it, infect us with it.

2. Be demanding – but fair.

3. Make us feel we are all on the same side / honest collaboration / trust / partnership.

4. Do not make us fear – fear can damage the work relationship.

5. Give us a simple brief – not a set of instructions or mandatory inclusions.

6. Have an open mind to the possibilities, not a fixed idea about what the execution should be.

7. Do not change the brief (especially not after seeing creative work).

8. Do not over-react to research results.

9. Small changes can make a big difference.

10. If you follow the rule-book, you’ll never end up with something new.

11. Choose one, and only one strong thing you want to say about your brand

12. Don’t reject creative work because you are afraid of the outcome.

13. Don’t hide information – share your insights with us

14. Have clear and realistic goals / focus objectives / defined challenge

15. Be able to recognize a great idea even if the execution is not there yet

16. Play “Yes And” (add to the idea) rather than “Yes But”or “Yes Or”


I highlighted #3, #7 and #14 since a number of people throughout the clip repeated these over and over again…


139: It's all about (all) good and (all) bad


I asked folks at the Creative Intensive Network on LinkedIn, what would they add to the list. Here’s what they had to say:


17. Give us credit for/when we’re doing great work.

18. Don’t start the process by thinking about the media you want to use. The idea should be first, then, the execution (which will determine the medium)

19. Evaluate the results of our work. Not the process, while we’re in the middle of it.

20. Do not consult the creative sketches with your spouse, your mates, or anyone who’s not involved in the process (the brief, the understanding of where this is going, etc).

21. Use your guts – avoid letting the research kill a creative idea.

22. If a decision needs to be a group/committee decision, reduce the number of people involved to the minimum number of effective decision makers.


As you can see, the title of this post is “30 Things All Clients Should Know About Working with Their Ad Agency,” yet we only have 22 at the moment. I’d love to get your feedback on this! What would you add to the list?



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