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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  My agency values accounts more than creative

My agency values accounts more than creative

I started with a small interactive agency as a copywriter just about a year ago. The agency wasn’t really known as a creative shop – it was more like we tended to do templated solutions for clients that weren’t really very savvy.
But things have grown and evolved and we’re starting to go after bigger and better business. My role is pretty senior on the creative side, mostly ’cause I’ve got some more background and experience than my peers. I like being in this position because I get to drive creative and have the chance to put my ideas in front of the client. Since I’ve been doing that for this agency, I’ve seen a number of my concepts and ideas turn into real dollars for the company. Most recently to the tune of nearly a million dollars for a single pitch – big bucks for our agency, the biggest single project amount they’ve ever recieved.
So, everything is great, right? Well, not so much. The higher ups at my agency put all their stock and value in the accounts side – so even though it was largely my ideas, and pitch to the client, that won this business, it’s the account guys that get a bonus. I just collect my salary – which is actually smaller than what the accounts people receive, even before they collect their bonus based on my work. They’re making, overall, around 20% more than me.
Am I wrong to have a problem with this? I thought agencies were supposed to value their creative staff, and I thought the chief commodity in our industry is the ideas themselves? I don’t think the accounts guys are undeserving, just that they certainly aren’t any more deserving than the senior creative staff, ie: me.
I don’t feel unappreciated, but I can’t pay my rent or eat appreciation, and as I see the other people around me start to do better and better I am starting to feel pretty disrespected and undervalued.
I feel that I should receive an equal salary + bonus for work that I conceive and pitch. Does that seem fair to you? I plan on talking to people in charge about this, but I worry that they just don’t get it or see it the way the rest of the industry does. Am I the one out of touch?
Thanks much for any insight.

intro My agency values accounts more than creativeTypically senior creative people make more than those in account services and are seen as higher up in the food chain. You don’t sound like our definition of “senior”, however. It’s great that you’re helping to win business and evolve the creative product of a shop you describe as far from outstanding for creative. If you want to do great work you’re in the wrong place, which was evident from the start. Look for other opportunities. If you want to take your career to the next level, stop worrying about proper pay and get your book out there. (In the mean time it doesn’t hurt to ask for a raise on the heels of the new business win.)

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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