Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc. Vice President, Copy Supervisor
chuukyuu A DDB I hear that there are accounts which are handled by supervisors for about a year first, and then are switched to some more junior writer. On the other hand, there are accounts which are handled by determined writers for quite a long time, like Mr. Levenson for Volkswagen and Mr.Meadow for Better Vision Institute. Which do you prefer?
Mrs. Parker There are not really two different ways to assign an account. There are simply different things that may happen on an account after it has been initially assigned.
Let's say a writer gets a big new account, or is promoted to copy supervisor, and gets very busy. He may then give up his previous acoount to someone in his group.
Or the switch may be made to benef it the younger writer, I have several times handed an account of my own on to a writer in my group, because I wanted to promote him to something more challenging than what he had been doing.
Or, a writer may feel that he is no longer fresh---that his brain has been drained dry by many year of writing for the same product. Or he may be disappointed in the accouot. He may have had some favorite campaigns turned down, or he may not get along with the account group or the client.
Sometimes---though it is very, very rarely necessary---he may be asked to give it up because he seems unable to do a good job on it. This seldom happens because the choice of writer is made very carefully in the first place. And also,our management is very reluctant to hurt a writer's self-esteem.
Sometimes a writer grows very fond of an account, like Leon Mcadow did of Better Vision Institute which brought him a lot of awards. Then he will not want to give it up, even if he gets very busy. VW, too, is an account that is a delight to work on, which is one reason Bob Levenson stuck to it for such a long time.
But there is really no formal system, no preferred way. Assignments, and reassignments, are always loose and flexible.
chuukyu If you have to give up the account you've been writiog on to some other writer, how do you ask him or her.
Mrs.Parker Again, it makes a difference whether I have enjoyed writing on the account, or whether I'm getting off because I'm unhappy with it.
But in any case, I'm to tell the person taking over a overy full and honest history of the account and all the factual information that I have. What I will not tell him is how to do it from here on. I want him to have the benefit of my experience, but I do not want to influence his way of handling it.
Now again, there is a difference in whether the person taking over from me is a writer in my group, or whether the thing goes entirely out of my group.
If it is someone in my group, then I will continue to supervise it, and naturally I am going to be influenced subconsciously by what I have felt about that account in the past. If it goes out of my group, I will have nothing more to do with it.
I do feel that, wherever possible, it's a good idea to have continuity. If a certain campaign has been started for a product, and is working, and is succcessful, I think it's bad to do something brand-new just because there's a new writer involved. The biggest consideration should be what's ego and pride of authorship.