O Captain! My Captain!

While you’re refining your shortlist of agencies you hope to work for, take some time to look into the background of the president and CEO of the company. Why? Because in my oft-proved-wrong opinion, agencies do better when a creative is at the helm.

Ogilvy New York’s best years were under Rick Boyko – a creative. Years ago, before he started running the VCU Brandcenter, Rick came to VCU as a visiting speaker. When he mentioned he never aspired to be the president of an agency, one student asked him why he took the position. He said, he didn’t like where the agency might be headed under some of the other candidates. He took the position to help the agency do the best creative it could. Not coincidentally, that’s when all the great IBM work of the late 1990’s started to come out.

Goodby and Silverstein? Creatives. Cliff Freeman? Creative. Who drives Crispin, Wieden, Chiat/Day and Martin? Creatives.

I’m not trying to badmouth account management. And you should never put yourself in the position of thinking as a creative you're somehow superior to the account team. Some of the sharpest minds in the business lead without copywriting or art direction backgrounds. But the person steering the ship has to understand one thing:

As an agency, we have a product. And it’s the creative. The creative isn’t just a department. It’s the reason for the entire company’s existence.

Thoughts? Comments? As mine are often flawed, I'd love to hear opinions on this.