How A Client Inspired The Most Famous Campaign I Ever Worked On.

There are creative people – writers and art directors – who dread presenting to the client. They think that no matter what happens at the meeting, the client will make a suggestion that will make the work worse. I disagree. Because the most famous campaign I ever worked on, the Verizon wireless “Can you hear me now?” campaign – wouldn’t even exist if not for a client suggestion.

Her name was Lynne Geoca. She hadn’t worked at Verizon long. And yet she told me one little fact that changed everything. Probably changed my entire career.

I was in a meeting with her and a bunch of Verizon network engineers. I was asking information because I had created a different campaign, and I was looking for information that would help support the campaign. I wanted to know if Verizon could tell me where their network worked and their competition’s didn’t. And that’s when she said the magic words: ‘well, we do have the drive tests.’ ‘The what?’ I asked. ‘The drive tests, we have a bunch of guys who drive around in vans, and every few feet they test our network – and our competition’s network. So I can tell you exactly where we work and they don’t.’ My mind was now racing. People relentlessly testing the network every few feet to ensure your call would go through. Ka-ching!

By the time I got back to the office, I had a team of people working on this idea. A week later, the Verizon test man was born. Six months later it was on TV. Ten years later it went off TV.

And all due to a client meeting. A client comment. And Lynne Geoca. And of course, a team of incredible writer and art directors at the agency.

So don’t dread client meetings. A single comment could change your career.

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