… In many cases I suspect the answer is “not very much”
The bigger the business and the posher the titles the more drones you’ll have hanging about
After I sold my business to Ogilvy and Mather the great man came to visit us.
Before meeting and charming our clients, he met my senior colleagues.
I had told them all to introduce themselves. They were all very nervous. I guess it was all a bit like meeting the Queen.
Chris Jones, who left with four other colleagues after I departed to set up Craik, Jones, Watson, Mitchell, Voelkel*, introduced himself as the creative director.
Ogilvy said, “But what do you do?”
Fortunately what Chris did besides trying to guide the fledglings was a lot of bloody good art direction. Actually he was quite capable of writing better copy than most writers, too.
But now there is a beast called the Executive Creative Director. I wonder what they do.
My partner recalls going to a meeting with Everest when we handled their direct marketing. She was on her own. They had seven people in attendance.
This safety in numbers approach seems to reassure clients since eventually the entire account moved to that agency. Unfortunately they had never mastered the art of writing a good sales letter.
* One of the big groups bought Craik, Jones for squillions. It took them surprisingly little time to run it into the ground.
A year or so later Everest got into trouble and were bought by a venture capital firm.
In a recession I think it pays to ask people frequently what they are doing.
Here are two things I can promise you.
1. The larger the organisation the more people will be hanging around doing nothing much except going to meetings.
2. The more pretentious the title the less the useful work being done.
* This agency which was a howling success was sold to one of the big groups. It took them less than a year to destroy it.