Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer, JWT MEA
Ah, summertime. A word so evocative it cannot but conjure up wonderfully stereotypical, HD-quality pictures of sandy beaches and pantone-perfect blue seas, mermaid-like beauties and sand-kicking Herculeses, pristine boutique hotel rooms and infinity pools… and frighteningly deserted ad agency desks with phones endlessly ringing in the background. In fact, the latter is so recurrent a nightmare for creative and managing directors that it probably feels like a classic horror movie they have watched more times than they would have like to.
Yup, there’s no two ways around it: it may well be the time when the living is easy – and the clichés cheesy – but not if you’re in management. Indeed, for most advertising seniors, summer is when the living is, erm, logistics. One minute you’ve got a dozen, simultaneous, aargh-inducing briefs with two teams to do them in two days, and the next you have the same, minus the teams.
Now we might all be familiar with how someone’s tan is another person’s diseased-looking complexion but, frankly, this is nothing but the result of the kind of management that should be confined to an agency called Ostrich. Holidays don’t just turn up like an unexpected rash: they are a normal annual occurrence, which we fail to plan for at our own peril.
While most of us can recite endless stories of how they cause instantly receding hairlines, ravaged fingernails and blood pressure readings that look like Charlie Sheen’s, staff holidays are immensely beneficial to an agency. So much so, in fact, that it is plain idiotic not to literally force people to take theirs, regardless of how committed they are to the job at hand. For one thing, nobody wants to work with people who look like mushrooms, but, more to the point, nobody wants to work with people whose inspiration is strictly drawn from stationery. Holidays for creative minds are like those energy recovery brakes on formula one cars: you take one big, hard stop and that act stores the kind of power that makes you fly past everybody else on the next straight – namely the inevitable “back to school” pitch that will spring up the moment temperature drops one notch.
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