The Blog

by Andy Corbett

It’s a Team Game

In case you didn’t hear, there’s a bit of a football contest coming down the pike in East Rutherford, New Jersey this Sunday. As I sit here in my work podule trying to write quality advertisements that both engage and entice, it’s hard not to get caught up in the footballphoria. It all got me thinking – a great ad agency is an awful lot like a great football team. They both require a group of talented, dedicated individuals with unique skills and experience to band together to accomplish a common goal. Everyone needs to understand their role, be passionate about what they bring to the table and do the little things that add up to something big over the course of a season, or uhh, fiscal quarter.

First, you need a quality front office and we have two of the best in the game with Jim and Betti. They’re the Jedi Masters (geeked-out mixed metaphor intended) who see the big picture and make the monumental decisions but who also aren’t afraid to hit the field on occasion to catch passes and tackle problems just for the love of the game.

Then you need a quality GM who’s tough but fair, supportive but challenging. Someone who will talk budgets one minute and provide donuts the next. Nice going, Brandy. It goes without saying you need the right coach. One who is the first to pat you on the back when your ideas are platinum and shows you how to do better when it’s just not getting done. The kind of leader who can deliver a speech like Pacino and wear a sweater vest like Ditka. And when you work at a small agency or need to streamline an analogy for a blog post, sometimes the coach has to also play quarterback. You can follow our great Coacherback on Twitter @BrainPunch.

Anyone who knows anything about football understands you’re only as good as your O and D-lines, or as I like to call them, the Account Team. These are the players in the trenches who do the hard stuff, the stuff that takes guts, the stuff that requires a skillset which includes strength, speed, quickness, agility and a stare that immediately lets people know deadlines are non-negotiable. They’re often the unsung heroes, but if you study the game like I do, you’ll see how valuable and sought-after great ones truly are.

And let’s not forget the importance of exceptional offensive and defensive coordinators, aka Media, aka Engagement Strategy. These are the tacticians, the strategerians, the people who understand that strategerians isn’t a word. Basically, the smart ones. The pitbulls who don’t just get what they want, they get twice the amount of what they want and a free bottle of wine to boot. And the best part? They don’t have to be tall to be effective.

Special teams are essential to any successful franchise. They need to be steady and reliable but also lightning-fast and aggressive. Excellent coverage is key and the best squads score points when people least expect it. We’re looking at you, PR.

Then there are the fullbacks and running backs: Production. We’ve been calling our Production staff Beast Mode long before Beast Mode knew what Skittles were. Okay, that’s a lie, but it’s a lie based in fact. These are the guys and ladies who will run through foam core walls to get it done. The people who are often forced to carry the team on their backs to get us all to the goal line, aka Friday happy hour.

Then there are the art directors and designers. They’re the slot receivers and TE’s, mainly because we’re running out of positions. Not only can they make beautiful plays, but they’re tough and resilient. They’re always the last to get here in the morning and the last to leave at night. An agency and a football team grinds to a standstill without them.

Which brings us to the Accounting department. This is a no-brainer. These are the team doctors. Without them, we’d all probably be dead. Or at the very least, making ads with torn ACL’s and wicked concussions. I don’t know if team doctors send out all-franchise emails nagging players to get their timesheets done, but they probably should.

As we’ve seen this year, a world-class secondary can take you all the way to the promised land. We call our Legion of Boom “Producers.” They will crush your face in two. Why, just the other day someone was handing me a cup of coffee and Kris Dangla came out of nowhere to knock it out of my hands. Then she kept yelling, “Don’t talk to me! Don’t talk to me! I’m the greatest! You’re mediocre!” It was weird and unprofessional, but highly effective.

Then there are the wide receivers, the handsome players. The players who get all the glory because they deserve it. They’re the ones who land reality shows and incredible endorsement deals. At C+F, we call them Copywriters.