Art & Commerce: Noah, Ad Man

Cubit by cubit, a client relationship was built
I think Noah would have made one hell of an ad executive. Think about it. He was given a daunting assignment by God (the client) to create something that had never been seen before as part of a global campaign launch. As with every agency executive who has been presented such a project, Noah balked.
˜Are you kidding, Sir?” said Noah. ˜The job just can›t be done. I can›t use freelance help? Can you imagine what the creatives back at the shop are going to say?”
But the client insisted and, as happens in most agency-client relationships, Noah took on the task. The campaign went off without a hitch.
Here›s my point: To Noah and his creative ˜team,” the work was the thing. They had to do it well. If they had built a lousy boat, collected only a handful of animals or didn›t start with a well-drafted plan and time line, Noah›s campaign would have been as unsuccessful as, say, Burger King›s ˜Herb” fiasco.
They began with an outline. How big, how wide, what would it be used for, how long would it need to last, what was the deadline? ˜Noah,” cried his staff, ˜we need information.” Hey, this was the first time anyone had heard of an Ark.
So, Noah sat down and wrote the first creative brief in history. The client read and approved it, but reminded Noah that the clock was ticking. The creative team went to work. Owing to Noah›s brief, they knew what a cubit was and how many it would take to create the boat. They knew the benefit of the Ark, the target they needed to attract, production specs and the budget. Most of all, they knew the desired results.
As Ark production progressed, Noah continued to refer back to the brief to make sure everyone was on line. He coordinated public relations and damage control with outside interest groups. He assigned his production manager to oversee animal procurement. He let his people do their jobs, but always maintained his role as shepherd of the work.
Occasionally, one of the creatives would offer a suggestion, e.g., ˜Hey, Noah, I›m thinking a sail or maybe a casino might give this thing a little more juice. Pytka is available.” Showing them the brief, Noah asked if they were still on strategy. He didn›t control the look of the Ark or the method of gathering animals, but he was guardian of the ˜brand.”
The creatives finally presented the work to Noah, who decided it was good. He called a meeting with the client and presented the concept. He did not fax it or send it overnight. Being a good advertising executive, Noah knew the work needed to be presented and not just sent out with a note saying, ˜Get back to us.”
The client asked questions, such as ˜Where are the unicorns we talked about?” Noah defended the work. He reminded the client that research showed the unicorn would not be strong with future demographics, adding if such a creature was needed in the future, a Pacific Rim production line could assemble one.
The client approved the campaign, then kicked off the launch with an incredible light and water show.

Publish date: January 3, 2000 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT