How to handle quality, innovation and superior customer service

One day you may be faced with a client who wants to run an ad saying something like "We're committed to service," or "We have the highest standards of quality."

Very talented and committed account management may be able to talk the client down off this ledge. If not, do the best you can, make the client happy, and move on to something else as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, here are a couple suggestions for making the most out of such an assignment:

COPYWRITERS: If the mandated message is something like "We have a dedicated and driven sales force." Write your headlines in the voices of celebrities. How would Robert DeNiro say this? What about Alfred Hitchcock? Or Will Smith? Or Richard Simmons? Some voices will be better than others. But you'll be able to inject some personality into what would otherwise be a pretty dull headline.

ART DIRECTORS: In my experience, if a client's set on a message like this, they probably don't have enough money for a photoshoots either. So you're stuck with illustration or stock photography. If that's the case, try laying the ad out as if you were working on a different category. Do the layout as if it were a new cola. Or a snowboard. Or an insurance company. Or an airline.

I'm not guaranteeing these exercises will help you win awards and get a book piece out of the assignment. But they will make it more enjoyable. And you may discover a look or a voice you can use a little later on.

Also, you don't have to wait for an uninspiring brief to cross you desk to try these. They work perfectly well on fantastic products and fantastic briefs, too.