Storms, Broken Bones, and Fire: Good Creative Agencies Work Around Obstacles to Get the Job Done

At the end of the day, marketers want a creative agency that gets the job done on time and on budget, even when unforeseen events create enormous challenges for the agency.

Marketers should be able to put complete trust and confidence in their creative agency. The client’s goals are the agency’s goals, and the client’s deadlines are the agency’s deadlines. In other words, the agency owns the project and approaches client work as a major stakeholder in the outcome.

A common thread in successful companies is that they go above and beyond to meet their customers’ needs. The same is true with external creative partners.

I also am a big believer in not subjecting clients to all the details and sacrifices that go on behind the scenes to complete their projects. That’s what they’re paying us to do, and they don’t have the time or interest in hearing about what it took to get the job done.

When they use an outside creative agency, they should be able to expect that once they hand the project off to the agency, the agency will hand it back to them completed to perfection. Once it’s in the agency’s hands, the project should be off the client’s mind. Good agencies know and practice this every day.

I’ll share 3 examples of challenging circumstances we needed to quickly maneuver around to get the work done for our clients on deadline.

The point I really want to make with these examples is that good agencies do whatever it takes to meet their clients’ needs.

1.  While working on a high-profile edutainment project that a major movie producer was approving at each stage of creative, a Nor’easter storm knocked out power to much of the Northeast. It was quite a memorable storm as everything powered by electricity came to a grinding halt for 5 days. There were no trains, gas, heat, light, cable, etc. But, the project needed to be finished to coordinate with the motion picture release date, so we had to find a way to keep it moving.

I set out with a laptop in search of a Wi-Fi signal, which I eventually found in an empty parking lot not too far from the office. I worked in the cold from the front seat of my car in that parking lot for days. My client never had to worry that her project was in jeopardy due to bad weather.

2.  We had been burning the midnight oil for weeks in order to meet an extraordinarily tight deadline for a large edutainment project. One afternoon as the art department was hopping, we were startled by a very loud “thud-thud-thud-thud” noise. It was the sound of one of our artists tumbling down an entire flight of stairs and slamming into the wall at the bottom. She was banged, bruised, and her wrist was throbbing. Rather then calling 911, she just wanted help getting back to her desk to continue working so we could keep the project on track.

Her wrist began to swell, so we packed it in ice and propped her arm on the desk so she could gingerly maneuver her mouse. She worked until 1 a.m. that morning. After driving herself home, the pain got worse and she ended up in the emergency room. The next morning she came into work with her broken wrist in a cast. She wasn’t about to let a little thing like a broken bone slow her down; after all, we had a deadline to meet. And we did meet it, thanks to her amazing dedication.

3.  During a photoshoot of tiny 1/8-inch computer chips for a technology company, our photographer wanted to create an effect of a spectrum of light generating from the chip. In order to get the desired effect he set up 1,000 watt lights, with the reflectors removed to expose the bare bulbs. The lights were positioned in between him and the chip. He stood directly in front of the lights, shooting over the top of them to capture just the right lighting effect. Not long into the shoot, his assistant said, “Watch out, your pants are on fire!” His pants were burning from coming in contact with the hot bulb. He slapped the fire out and continued with the shoot. His pants were ruined but the client loved the shots!

I would enjoy hearing other stories of extraordinary service and problem solving from edutainment marketers and creative agencies in the comments section. We can all learn from each other and be inspired by innovative ways agencies worked around problems to get the job done for their clients.

For help with your creative projects contact The Lawnsby Group for more information.

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