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LIES ‘Big’ Agencies Love To Tell

Yup, it’s time to do the breakdown on the many lies the ‘bigger’ boys in advertising love to tell.

And in this instalment……………(Drum rolls) Ta-da!

“You HAVE to send everything that’s going for print through color separation”.

uh-hmmm. I’ve had many clients come to me and asked, “Hey, how much would it cost me if I wanted a set of storytelling posters designed and printed for a roadshow?”

Well, design fees would of course, vary according to every agency, based on reputation, experience, and so on and so forth. And so would the printing costs.

THEN, there would come the incredulous question, “How much would color sep cost me for the posters?”

Huh?! Why would you send POSTERS for color sep? Hehehe.


Digging into the 911s of it all, I discovered that the BIG boys in the advertising industry ALWAYS included a charge for color sep, for literally EVERYTHING, including posters.

Their rationale: “To ensure that the color’s accurate.”
An additional line to persuade clients: “We ‘recommend’ that you do it, because we won’t be able to assure you that the results will be satisfactory if you don’t.”

Well, many clients have fallen for that, and why shouldn’t they? After all, these are big names in the advertising industry and have been around for years. Hence, they SHOULD KNOW what they’re talking about, right?!

Well, the truth is, some of these agencies are big names today simply because they were pioneers. Yup, and because they’re pioneers, they seem to hold on to very conventional working methods; having everything TOO organized and fixed, with no room for flexibility in-between. All departments are properly segregated and follow a standard work-flow process.

  • Account management team visits the client
  • Gets brief from client
  • Returns to agency, writes out a detailed brief
  • Sets a meeting with the media, production, creative team….
  • Then finally a brainstorming session or two
  • Then moving on to the creative department doing some further brainstorming before ‘sketching’ a draft
  • Next comes the execution, of which could be changed a zillion times before the creative director finally gives the green light to go ahead.
  • Creative team gives artwork to the account management team to present to the client
  • And the same cycle continues as clients revert with changes.
  • …snore…snore….more

I am already bored describing the seemingly endless process.

I can understand the need for such detailed organizational work flow perhaps 30 or even 20 years ago, but in the current era with advanced computers and software catering to practically everything, do you really need to go through ALL THAT?!

Following dead routine is belittling to us human capabilities. With modern tech to help us along, we should be more than able to multi-task, which saves time, saves hassles and saves the need going through unnecessary red tape.

So what’s this to do with color separation and posters in this topic, you ask. The bottom line: The big boys claim there’s a need for color sep merely to KEEP the role of the production manager, which means: They ‘look like’ they do more, hence they charge more, and of course, they earn more.

All in all, I’d say despite the big name, strong branding and so-called prestige, it’s time to cut back on all the bullshit and stop taking clients for fools ;)