Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Many people who do not know the advertising business believe it to be the ideal job, which, in essence, it is. Cynics say, everything would be great if only there were no people. No people client side, no people in the media, no people with the competition, no people in the agencies. Without people it would really be the ideal job.
They also say that advertising provides opportunities for great creativity.
They say your imagination can come up with all sorts of things.
They say you are free to create whatever you want.
And they say the most important thing is to create a super nice, interesting ad.
The basis of our work is the function of creating and transmitting a message – from the product, the brand, to the final consumer. So, this is not art, because art gives the creator the privilege of creating something primarily for themselves. In our case, everything is focused on the fulfillment of this primary objective, and that is what needs to be conveyed.
And in order to do a good job, we need clear focus. In the absence of a precise task, problems arise. To work without clear terms of reference is one of the hardest things for an agency. It reminds me of those poor pub musicians, who, wanting to please the patrons, ask them what song they’d like, and in return they just get a drunken and brazen: Hit me with something! Do they want something fast or slow, local or foreign, folk or pop, melancholic or happy … it’s up to the musicians to figure it out.
Sometimes the client, due to their inability to formulate precise terms of reference, says the famous words: I don’t want to restrict you, I want something creative, and good. The nightmare of every creative. And then, just to rub it in, they add: work on a couple of ideas, just in case, and bring me three proposals for each solution.
And therein the devil lies. Freedom of choice can sometimes be very rough and difficult, and the blank paper in front of you can be a source of great frustration.
To avoid this, some smart people invented His Majesty the Brief, or terms of reference.
What we do has something to do with art, but it is first and foremost applied art. Meaning it’s an art which has a specific task, it is not its own goal. This task may be to provide new information, create a certain image in the mind of consumers, shift perceptions … and above all help sell a particular product or service. Therefore, to make the message effective and do the job, it is essential that the client, at the very beginning, very clearly and precisely, defines the message and what it should do. In order for them to do that properly, they must have a lot of knowledge and skill in various fields, primarily in marketing.
When an agency receives the terms of reference, they have to study it hard, and know the right questions to ask. And there is a subtle line between inquisitiveness and total permissiveness, or silence. Sometimes, when we ask the right questions, a client gets angry and says, if they have to give all the answers, why do they need an agency? It’s also possible to be given a task that goes beyond the possibilities and/or competence of the agency, and the agency then has to start making strategic marketing decisions, and ends up with problems for which they are not responsible.
A good brief is half a job well done. When the message is clearly stated, it’s easier to be creative and use your skills to design the best possible idea, rather than stumbling in the dark trying to figure out what needs to be said.
It’s the same with everyday life.
Relations between men and women are full of things that are implied. And this is often the basis for misunderstandings, dissatisfaction and conflicts that are not implied.
There’s probably not a man in the world who hasn’t heard, at least once, the question in the title. The scenario is well-known. He and she are arguing. He didn’t do something. Because she, of course, didn’t tell him to do it. For God’s sake, must she tell him everything? He should have known what she wants. At any rate if he cares about her, she concludes.
The male way of thinking is, however, quite different from women’s. Men are more prone to simplifications, direct speech, in most cases with no additional or hidden meanings. If we want something, we say it. We tend to forget unnecessary (for us) ‘little things’. And we often don’t understand women.
In some situations, when she says we need this, it means she wants it. Yes does not always necessarily mean yes. When she tells you that you need to talk, she thinks you messed up something. When she tells you to feel free to do what you want, the message is that you will be in big trouble if you do. And so on.
We men are not saints either. We sometimes fail to see the obvious things, we tend to forget important dates. We don’t have that subtle talent for detail. We don’t read between the lines.
When she has a problem, and we love her and we want to help her, we make one of the biggest mistakes, which is the cause of many quarrels and misunderstanding: we offer solutions to the problem, rather than listen.
Although I’m an opponent of most of those popular psycho-self-help bestsellers, I must admit that one of those books has helped me a lot in better understanding male-female relationships. I was pointed in the direction of this book – for extremely benevolent and pedagogical reasons – by my dear wife, in order to make a better being out of my paramecium male identity. It helped me to understand, but not always correct, the above mistakes.
It’s the book Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, by John Gray. The book is based on the assumption that men and women are, essentially, so different that it is as if they are from two different planets. One example to illustrate this is the situation of problem solving.
Here, we and they have diametrically opposed ways of handling the situation. Gray pointed out that women in this situation tend to solve things by ‘putting the problem out there’ through conversation, while a man withdraws into himself until he can see how to fight it, and when he has found a solution, then he comes out and is ready for action.
And these differences are the basis for many conflicts, because men usually make a mistake when, out of the best intentions, they offer solutions, instead of offering empathy and understanding. Women, on the other hand, make a mistake when – again out of the best of intentions – they see that he is in some kind of trouble, and then insist on talking, asking questions, pulling him by the arm and trying to make him speak.
This is how it would look in everyday life.
She comes back from work, very moody and upset. On the doorstep she begins her story: “This really doesn’t make any sense any more. I waited for the bus for over half an hour, I could hardly get on it, then the journey took nearly an hour because of the traffic, people trampled all over me, some maniac rubbed himself against me the whole time…. I’m going mad here!” And he, who loves her, tries (wrongly of course) to diffuse the situation: “My love, don’t be upset, next time call a taxi, or me, I will gladly come pick you up and take you home.”
She doesn’t stop: “Today was a terrible day. I made a small mistake in my calculations, and that idiot of my boss scorned me in front of everyone, saying I should be embarrassed, I felt terrible!” He, full of understanding, continues to help, which turns out to actually be ‘helping’: “Jerk! I’ll come in next time to personally deal with him. He can’t offend you like that.”
Her lament is not yet over: “And in the end, you know what was the worst?” He grasps onto that rhetorical question and lovingly asks: “What?” She, a little annoyed that he interrupted her at the best part, delivers the final blow: “Because of what happened today, I forgot to call my aunt and congratulate her on her eightieth birthday, and you know how much she cares about me and I about her. And this horrible thing happened to me, boo hoo (she’s in tears).” And he, poor fellow, going out of his mind because of his love for her, nails the final nail in his coffin of errors: “My love, don’t worry. Here, I’ll call her right now and tell her that you forgot your phone, or even better, that your battery ran out. We’ll work it out, just don’t worry.”
This is where she freaks out: “My God, why don’t you understand me. Why can’t I ever talk with you and why can’t you help me solve my problems. You don’t understand me. No one understands me, boo hoooo.” She runs into the room and slams the door in anger and tears, leaving the poor fellow in the middle of the room, totally confused.
I must admit that when I first read this story, I also didn’t know what went wrong. The man loves her, he adores her, he is full of understanding, he acts like an ideal partner, a man, a knight. Ah, if I could only be like that, there would be no stopping me.
I did not know what sparked her, in my opinion, unreasonable reaction.
Fortunately, this book, like any textbook, has a section that indicates the errors. Here the starting point is the basic postulate of the fundamental differences between men and women, Mars and Venus, which particularly manifest themselves in problem solving.
So, to recall: the most frequent mistakes men make is when they offer women solutions to problems, instead of offering understanding. The same situation, from the woman’s point of view, would ideally look like this:
So she comes home from work, all upset about all the things that had happened, and in the first set of problems related to transport, according to the woman’s ideal expectation, he should have hugged her, kissed her and said: “Pssss, (or better yet ‘shhhhh’, it sounds warmer) love, that’s terrible, tell me every detail.”
After the second set of complaints about the arrogant boss, the hug should grow into caressing her hair, a gentle kiss on the back of the head, and a sympathetic, but deep and sincere: Tsktsktsk…..
And after the most terrible event of the day, related to the missed birthday of her dear aunt (whom he can’t stand), the hug should have turned into a gentle raising of the head, looking deep into her eyes, and a key phrase that would solve so much: “My dear, you’ve had a horrible day. Let me get you some tea and rub your shoulders, you’ve had such an awful day.”
And she would then elatedly say: “You’re such a sweet man. You understand me and you always solve all my problems. You’re a real man!!!”
I must admit that at that moment I realized that I’ve lived my life, wasted my youth, grown old, and that I will die, not managing to understand the eternal enigma called women.
And so, my dear women, understand us men. Understand we are beings of a lower order, and that we need to be told a lot of things, directly, clearly and loudly, in order for us to understand some things. The classic sentence “Why do I have to spell everything out for you???” doesn’t help much.
You must. If you want us to understand you.