(this will be full of typos, I don't have time to check stuff these days, not that it was ever perfect)
I been in this industry for more than five minutes and most of that is working in creative agencies of one type or another.
Working in a media agency still means working with creatives, those in other agencies, not to mention the very understandable defensive stance of the suits and planners.
I used to hate media folks trying to own all elements of strategy, how that's come about is a whole post and a half.
Here's some stuff I picked up along the way. It's a little revealing I think, like a detective archetype who sometimes doesn't play by the book, you learn some dark, cunning arts along the way.
In my defense, the end justifies the means.
1. Don't bother writing pithy, well written propositions, the first thing a creative team will do is challenge it. The more like a 'line' it is, the more they'll ignore it. Hide your best thinking in the brief and let them find it for themselves and let them call you a douchebag for not knowing a great proposition when you see it.
2. In fact, don't sweat propositions at all, look for great tasks and problems and insights. As long as you've got good creatives that is. Great creatives want to be given a great problem to solve, bad creatives want a simple proposition that doesn't challenge them too much.
3. Planners are either a necessary evil, or a pointless evil. That is your lot with creatives. Always be looking to liberate others' work, if you're getting the way, you'll get ignored.
4. My best briefs were already half written thanks to an off record chat with the creatives that would be getting it. Not only will creatives work from a brief more if they think they wrote it, the good ones are better planners than the planners, so you might as well steal their cleverness.
5. But be generous with your own ideas. No creative will use your stimulus, creative starters or general opinion on an idea if they think for one minute you'll take credit for anything. They're sociopaths, but I would be too if nearly all my work ended up in the bin.
6. Never be the first to speak in a creative review, in fact, try and get away with saying nothing. New ideas take a little time to get your head around, your first response will usually be wrong. Give yourself time to think about it.
7. If you're a junior planner, or to be honest, a senior one in a new place, the ability to make good tea or coffee will get you a long way with creatives.
8. Don't leave knowledge about execution and craft to suits. Learn about the nightmare that is TV production, casting and going on a shoot. Real people don't care what your brief was, they only care about the fact you've interrupted Game of Thrones and will ignore rubbish. Execution is everything. And the way to make friends is to share interests with people. Creatives care deeply about their craft.
9. Don't tell creatives if a route isn't any good, just don't talk about it, they'll soon get the message.
10. Designers are not creatives, they are brilliant an making stuff look good and perfect. Creatives know how to make people react. If you're in an agency that claims to do creative work, staffed by designers, run a mile. There is no hope.
11. Every creative team is different. Tailor your brief, briefing and entire relationship on what excites them.
12. Creatives hate suits more than planners. Make them think you're on their side (while simultaneously making the suits think you're on their side).
13. Creatives hate workshops. Don't waste your time.
14. You don't have to make the briefing a piece of theatre. Many creative teams simply like a decent, grown up conversation where they're not presented a signed off strategy that can't be changed.
15. Some creatives are ace in front of clients. Some are, erm, not. Get the good ones in meetings, no one sells work like the people who made it.
16. Never lose your temper. The unwritten rule is that creatives can say what they like, you need to keep calm. Angry planners get ignored.
17. They will try do stuff they've see in D&AD. Never call them out on it, just give better stimulus.
18. They're terrified of the blank page at the beginning of a project, they just don't admit it.
19. Creatives directors haven't had a great idea in years. Their job is get others to have them. If you see a creative director with a layout pad, you are in trouble, big trouble.
20. Share great work from other places with creatives, see what they like about and frame your conversations based on this is future. If they say stupid stuff like 'that was great because they didn't show the product' your are fucked.