An ideal agency-client partnership is as rare as a good marriage... or probably non-existent as some might argue. Fraught with all sorts of tempestuous trials from promiscuity to boredom to financial issues, agencies and clients have experimented with all possible combinations to row this rocky love boat on its journey towards blissful shores.
Here are a few of them:
The client empanels several agencies and sleeps with them at random. This polygamous arrangement might reek of sexism and unfairness, and beg dismissal to the dark ages; but the reality is that most agencies are ready to drop pants and morals at the call of an empanelment pitch these days.
To liven up a dull and sometimes stale relationship, or to get a rise out of his sales figures, the client might bring a hot new boutique agency to the marital bed. Most often than not, the first agency knows that her partner will eventually tire of this and move on to the next, and therefore, plays along.
The Open Relationship
A few partnerships sometimes (although quite rarely) manage to pull off a successful open relationship. They know that there are few fringe needs that they can't or won't meet and are perfectly fine with the partner getting it outside.
Taking a cue from Bollywood, some agencies take on the role of the good wife. You know your client is sleeping around. You can't really do anything about it. And if he turns up one day with a bastard idea from another agency, you'll look after the idea as one of your own.
However rare, there are few clients and agencies that do end up clinking champagne flutes on their golden jubilee anniversary party, and even have more chemistry than most younger partnerships around town. Is it re-invention, is it intelligence, or just plain luck? Perhaps they'll write a book one day and we'll know.
The Arranged Marriage
Also known as global alignment, some agencies (typically, ones from large joint families) and clients are thrown together whether they like it or not. They have no option but to make it work - for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, from this day forward till global realignment do them part.
When a client is typically wooed by a large agency family and the most attractive elder daughter is spoken for, but he is presented with the younger sister. Probably not as popular or attractive as her elder sister, but hopefully genetics will work to her advantage and see them living happily ever after.
Some clients find it better to get-off on their own - aka the in-house agency. One often approaches this equation with the logic that if one takes matters into one's own hands, one has better control over the timing, intensity and frequency of pleasure, and never has to worry about cheating, financial issues and chemistry. But we know how well this works out eventually, don't we?
(The author is creative director at Reprise Media, a digital marketing agency)