The one that got away, and the one that didn’t

08 Jun, 2021

There are three types of clients that approach us. Or rather there are three things that they ask us for in terms of brand advertising. The first are those with an existing brand who need some fresh thinking. The second are those with a brand in need of a refresh because it has got a bit outdated. The last are those who want something completely new. It is the third of these that is the most terrifying. Exciting but terrifying. Often these come with the brief of “can you do us an Artemis?” One even asked us to “go crazy”. We always start these conversations by explaining that Artemis was built on a brave buy to begin with, cemented with unwavering commitment. Invariably the response we get is a confident one that they have both those prerequisites in spades. And so we embark, but often to discover that this isn’t really the case. To be clear that’s ok, our ideas can be quite lateral; they’re designed to be. They break the sector norms and that, at first, is not a comfortable place to be.

This is a truism of our sector so why bring it up now? Because every once in a while, you get a client that follows through and gets some exciting work in return. We have just had that moment; there is work to do before the launch later in the year but it’s looking like something that no other brand could or would do. Ironically it comes almost exactly a year after a less fruitful experience. We were approached by a client and asked to produce ‘an Artemis’. We developed an idea that they liked and were well into developing it when they got cold feet. Despite best efforts it just couldn’t be made to work. Frustrating on both sides, but a client with an interesting story perhaps missed an opportunity to really stand out from the crowd.

Skip ahead a year (oh what a year) and we are approached by another business, again with an interesting product offer, and again with an initial creative ambition. This time the big idea was truly ‘bought’, we are in production and couldn’t be more excited about the launch. And for me it did something else. I have spent the last year second guessing and beating myself up about the one that got away, often lying awake wondering; did we do a bad job, could we have done something better, should we have listened more or was it a “I’m sorry it’s not me – it’s you” scenario (picking the last of which was the easiest way to get a good night’s sleep)? Now I can see it more clearly. We didn’t do anything wrong and neither did they. We just both had different views of what a big idea is. If we had changed to fit their view we would have been deluding ourselves and if they had changed to fit ours they would have been too far out of their comfort zone. Either way it wouldn’t have lasted, it just wasn’t meant to be. And that’s ok.