In a recent Campaign Brief post, Andrew Lok compared the traits of cats and dogs to the qualities required of agency people (dogs more fun, cats lethargic, etc).
As we enter into the Year of the Wooden Horse, we thought it might be apposite to see how agency personnel might look through an equine lens. So in the spirit of the season here’s our guide to the creative stable.
The Racehorse: A thoroughbred – at least in his own mind –, sleek and totally focussed on passing the winning post in first place. A real ‘look at me’ horse whose self image is of a white stallion galloping through the surf at sunset, possibly with a naked rider clinging to its mane. This is an animal that’s been bred to believe that he is special, and if he’s not trotting around the winner’s paddock come award’s season he’s likely to throw a tantrum. But this creature is also high maintenance, often sulky and sensitive, which doesn’t make him very popular with the rest of the stable. Not that he cares of course. Fawning management, desperate to maintain some sort of creative profile, colludes to keep him believing in his own legend.
The Stallion: Less focused than the racehorse, the stallion wants control and to be master of the herd. This is a horse that does a lot of snorting and stamping of hooves. Stallions tend to act more aggressively during the awards season, when they feel somewhat threatened by the racehorses. However, most of the time, he maintains his position by laying down scent-marking manure piles and urination spots to communicate his dominance as the numero uno.
The War Horse: Strong, dominant and often intransigent; this is a horse that you don’t want to get in the way of at full gallop. Management’s favorite for leading the team into battle. It’s not the smartest of animals but, nostrils flaring, and hoofs drumming it’ll bear down unflinchingly on any enemy. It’ll also run down anyone who gets in its way. However once its protective armour (management’s backing) is removed, it is revealed to be a much more timid beast that seeks to ingratiate itself with the rest of the stable. Not a horse to be trusted with the oats.
The Carthorse: A great docile creature assigned to haul the heavy loads. Often seen with its junior partner the pack horse, or assistant art director. Stolid, reliable, plodding and usually to be found toiling away on the agency’s less glamorous but more profitable accounts. This amiable animal is held in contempt by the preening racehorse for his willingness to work on accounts offering few creative opportunities, but for the same reason is generally liked by the rest of the herd. These horses are required to work extremely hard to make up for the indolence of the racehorses. Several charities now run sanctuaries where these noble animals can live out their last years in peace, instead of going straight to the knackers yard.
The Hack: A dying species with most having been put out to pasture long ago. But you can still occasionally find one in the dark corner of a bar, complaining that it’s all gone to pot, it’s not about ideas anymore and the kids these days haven’t a clue. These old nags can be entertaining for a while but are probably best avoided.
The Gelding: Every agency has at least one of these; otherwise known as the creative director.
The Filly: A dancing, prancing creature that can sometimes be a bit of a handful. Quite often found sniffing around the bottoms of the racehorses, with whom they like to hang around. Beware when feeding apples to these skittery creatures, as you are liable to get nipped in the process.
The Mare: Generally a calming influence on the herd and definitely too few of them in our creative departments. Our favourite animal by far.
The Bucking Bronco: Nobody wants to ride this one: up one minute, down the next with a mean kick. And woe betide anyone who finds themselves at the wrong end when he’s been nibbling at those funny flowers in the corner of the field again.
* Any resemblance to agency people we have worked with is purely coincidental.
** The word ‘he’ refers in all cases to he or she.