These Are the People in Your Agency
Posted Wednesday, 21 October 2009 by Peter Alexander in Design
If you work in an ad agency or design house, chances are you’re surrounded by strange and mysterious people with confusing job titles and strange habits of speech and dress. This guide will help you understand the people that you meet each day.
Creative DirectorHow to recognize one
See all those designers, art directors and copywriters surrounded by overheated computers, coffee cups and empty takeout containers? Now look directly behind them at the guy watching the retro Count Chocula commercial on YouTube. That's the Creative Director.Social interaction
Creative Directors are known for their unique and paradoxical speech skills. When trying to explain the brilliant ad concept they came up with last night after their fifth glass of Dewar's, they resort to made-up words like "gestural" and nonsensical phrases like "eloquently obtuse".
And yet that same person, when put in front of a room full of clients, will suddenly gain the verbal dexterity of Barack Obama's more charming older brother. Also, they'll often take you out for lunch but accidentally leave their wallet back at the office. Reproductive habits
Creative Directors get a lot of action, due to their effortless combining of a sensitive artistic side with a pragmatic selling-out-to-make-a-six-figure-salary side. Most of them are smart (or were previously threatened with firing) and so avoid mowing the company lawn by looking to outside sources for sex and companionship. Generally this involves sleeping with freelance photographers, clients, former coworkers or anyone else who can be wooed by the idea of frequent nights in watching 30 Rock.On their iPod
Fight the Power, You Can't Always Get What You Want, I Don't Like Mondays.
CopywriterHow to recognize one
A copywriter blends into an agency environment about as well as Amy Winehouse at a Mormon picnic. Things to look for: the combination of camouflage shorts, Converse hi-tops and grey hair; a computer and cellphone that have a name that doesn't start in "i"; bags under the eyes from working on that copy until 3am, trying to decide if "monthly gift" or "not so fresh feeling" is a better euphemism. Social interaction
There is not a single copywriter on the planet whose life goal was to be a copywriter. Thus, they're bitter, argumentative and prone to eating lunch alone at their desks while posting bitter, argumentative comments on internet message boards. The only office interaction they take part in is after-work drinks because their happy drunk place is where they get to be Ernest Hemingway. Reproductive habits
The average copywriter will go through a series of relationships with idealistic mates who believe there's a poet's soul in there somewhere. This belief is deliberately perpetuated by the copywriter through the display of a magnetic poetry kit on his fridge at home. Each of these couplings will last approximately 6-8 months, and will be followed by the copywriter re-upping his subscription to SuicideGirls.com.On their iPod
Actually they don't own an iPod. But if they did it would contain: No Sleep till Brooklyn, If I Can't Say a Word, anything by Ween.
Graphic DesignerHow to recognize one
Look in the mirror? Social interaction
Graphic designers are always being asked to work late. To make it up to them, their account director makes sure they're paid double-time for all those overtime hours. Ha-ha, joking of course. In the real world, the account director pays them off with a greasy pizza and a six-pack.
This shared midnight suffering through cold slices and warm beer creates a certain esprit de corps among designers. This bond is further strengthened by multi-player Call of Duty 4 action and a shared dislike of copywriters who ask for more than 20 characters in a header. Reproductive habits
Not every graphic designer is sexually prolific of course. But about 95% of them are. Maybe their libido thrives because, unlike other agency employees, they save their souls from being crushed on a daily basis by ignoring everything clients tell them to do. Or maybe Red Bull really is an aphrodisiac. On their iPod
A bunch of songs I don't recognize by DJs I've never heard of from countries I've never been to.
Account Director How to recognize one
The easiest way to recognize an account director is to wait for a face-to-face meeting with the client. Then identify the person on the client team who's highest up their corporate ladder. Then identify that person's ass. The account director is the guy kissing it.Social interaction
Generally the account director avoids all contact with the rest of the team. The only exception is when a project finally goes out the door and he treats you all to a steak dinner, thus proving that every minute of unpaid overtime you worked contributed directly to his enormous bonus. Reproductive habits
To get an idea what a account director looks like mid-coitus, picture Bill Lumbergh from the dream sequence in Office Space
. But then imagine that he makes his lucky partner wear a product from whatever client he has at the time, whether its Nike shoes or Depends undergarments.On their iPod
An audiobook version of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".
Art DirectorHow to recognize one
Just keep your eyes out for someone who looks exactly like a creative director, but with less money, a larger ulcer and a thick sketchbook full of broken dreams. Social interaction
The art director often projects an air of easy camaraderie and friendliness. Don't be fooled. Beneath that smiling exterior is an angry wolverine who'd rather gnaw his own leg off than be stuck in the trap that is his career for one more day. This explains the art director's frequent need for "personal days" and xanax. Reproductive habits
"Not tonight honey, but maybe when I make ACD."On their iPod
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Knockin' on Heaven's Door, Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.