From one mad man to another

mad men raihan hadi advertising marketing weekender 2022

By Raihan Hadi

Years ago when I was tip-toeing into my career of earning in peanuts, juggling between getting trained as a copywriter as well as a merchandiser (yes I was bi-curious about stuff), a wise woman told me – “Clients might be second to God, but they’re not always right.”

Took me a hot minute to understand what the lady meant back then. On the cusp of that hot minute I watched, no, let’s say I witnessed, one of the worst TV ads ever – literally murdering a brand’s image.

You know how our industry is a web of its own, everyone knows everyone, and one not-so-fine afternoon, I happened to meet the struggling admaker behind the disaster. Naturally I brought said TV ad up during what was only meant to be a light conversation.

Dude tells me shaking his head in total disappointment (on himself it seemed), “Some brand owners just get to do what they want because struggling agencies like mine need the money. If my days were better, I’d probably have thrown that SOB out of the window when he ordered me to make that commercial. My reputation has taken a hit.”

It did, but for a short while only. He eventually picked himself up and picked up several recognitions as well, thanks to the right kind of clients.

More often than not, brand owners fail to understand the beauty of what we do. They think it’s easy, whilst not doing it themselves.

The threesome of a struggle between power, money and creativity can at times cause the death of a brand.

A brand or business owner’s definition of success may only be measured in terms of how much money it makes in the market, but us mad men always look at the long haul – where the brand has an established image, and is loved by its consumers.

So I just wanted to take this opportunity today to raise a (halal) toast to all the brilliant admakers who are reading this today for always standing up to their clients with all the bright ideas and aweing people with their creative genius.

As for brand owners who think you know better, listen to your creatives, and let them do their jobs in peace.

“From one mad man to another” was the Editor’s Note for MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 335


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