Why is it so hard to tell your agency they suck?

Ever been in a pitch where you can’t stop giggling?

When you really try to imagine implementing their concept but it’s just plain hideously ludicrous. Yes, the pitch was that bad.

Here the team was pitching a concept that was just wrong on so many levels. And in the room, was the head of the agency. Sitting with a straight face as if it was the most normal of pitches in the world.

I’ve lived and worked across the world. I’ve managed numerous agencies from good to bad and in between. I’ve had to sit through loads of pitches, and been on the receiving end of plain crappy work. But this one took the cake.

If I told you the concept, I would be giving away too much.

But not being content with giving me the most entertaining pitch ever (and not in a good way) they starting dishing up half-hearted projects with half-baked storyboards, whacked up creative and messaging worse than my toddler can manage.

Toddlers may babble a bit, but they’re straight to the point, don’t lie (yet) and what they say reflects how they feel. I would be better off hiring toddlers!

So I read through the contract and hey presto – the usual exit clause of one month’s written notice but only after a formal review and only if issues aren’t addressed. So a review meeting we held.

We skirted around the elephant in the room asking about kids, holiday plans and stuff.

Then came the awkward moment; “Look, we have performance issues and I need you to address them.”

“We’re not happy with your work, your creatives have been way off the mark and it’s taking too long to get stuff done – we have to do loads of rework in-house.”

If you headed an agency and you heard this from your client, what would you do? Sometimes agency heads are the worst listeners.

Instead of guaranteeing a changeover of creative team and giving us a fresh face for managing the account, he said we were causing the issue by complaining and doing the work ourselves…and by the way our arrears were building up.

Sometimes you just need a change.

An end word for agency heads… listen to your client, look at the traffic reports and see what’s getting done, what’s getting reworked and what’s just crap. And for goodness sake watch the body language of your client when your team is pitching.



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