Good account planning is about helping to make The Work better / more effective and helping to make life easier for the account team, creatives and client.
So I’ve started to wonder why the role of Planner is mostly limited to marketing agencies (with a few exceptions like the BBC). After all, these days agencies are supposed to be producing engaging Content rather than ads, websites or mailshots – and lots of other industries are busy striving to make their Content better too.
Take (stage) Musicals. The rubbish on TV at the moment has forced me to navigate deeper into youtube in search of entertainment and I’ve been watching bootlegs of Musicals You Can’t Pay To Go And See Anymore like Bonnie & Clyde which including previews lasted seven weeks on Broadway and the regional try-out of Finding Neverland which finally made it to Broadway in a considerably altered form.
When I’ve gone back for a second viewing it turns out that a Planner’s point of view on how to press people’s buttons to influence them is pretty portable between different Content as I had to stop myself making notes like ‘don’t break the fourth wall for a cheap laugh, save it for later in the second act when you want the audience to join in because they now believe in the power of imagination too’. *
Perhaps film, TV and staged productions do have Planners during creative development and they’re simply called something else. But in the somewhat unlikely event that the producers of The Girls, the new Gary Barlow penned musical about The Calendar Girls which has its world premiere in Leeds later this year are reading this – do you need a hand?
* added 30/6/15 – my point above about not forcing suspension of disbelief by breaking the theatrical fourth wall until you are at a point where it makes it integral to the disbelief itself (in this case any play about how Peter Pan was written is going to eventually ask the audience to clap if they believe in fairies) is rather neatly illustrated by this video (via @faris and @nathanjurgenson).