The Godfathers

We made them an offer they couldn’t refuse….

Planning as a discipline is still something of a ‘Newbie’ to the advertising world, having only evolved in the 1960’s. In order to help any aspiring planners out there, I thought it might be useful to provide you with a timeline outlining key events in the development and evolution of the illustrious world that is ‘planning.’

Needless to say, like all truly great things –The Queen, The Beatles, Monty Python, Absolutely Fabulous, Cadbury’s, Smash, The Sun, Jordan – planning is a British construct….

1966 – Stephen King, Jeremy Bullmore and other JWT employees begin to question the US ad style of quantitative research being forced upon creative work.

1967 – Stanley Politt introduces a new discipline to Pritchard Wood known as Account Planning combining 4 previously separate research functions – desk, quantitative, qualitative and media research

1968 – Stephen King sets up an Account Planning Dept at JWT. New agency on the block BMP (Boase Massimi Politt) also launches, with an inbuilt Account Planning Dept of equal weight and authority to Creative and Account Management Departments. Politt’s account planners are charged with strategic thinking, advertising research & media planning.

1970 – Politt hires his first graduate planning trainee’s, setting a lovely precedent for the hiring of lost little grads like Rich and I – thank you Stanley…

1975 – Planning is questioned:
By Agency Managers asking – Is this discipline financially viable?
Creatives asking ‘why are these people messing with our work?
Clients asking ‘how can Planners can objectively test their own ads?

1975 – Planning’s shaky foothold is cemented by the success of BMP creative director, John Webster’s work – the success of Smash Martians, Cresta Bear & Courage Tavern all being credited to his working with Planners.

1979 – The Account Planning Group (APG) is founded – a forum for the growing population of UK account/strategic & creative planners.

1980 – IPA launches its first Advertising Effectiveness Awards – created to prove the business value and effectiveness of advertising. The significance of an ‘effectiveness culture’ is introduced to the agency world, highlighting the fundamental need for Planners.

1982 – Planning makes it’s US breakthrough at massively successful agency Chiat Day thanks to the efforts of Brit, Jane Newman.

1982 – BBH is born, with John Bartle establishing his hugely successful planning model – BBH’s subsequent success confirms Planning’s value.

1985 – The science of econometrics and statistical market modelling are added to Planning’s tool kit; first by Simon Broadbent of Leo Burnett. That’s right….

1990 – Planners become increasingly concerned with Insight and Strategy – the less sexy business of number crunching and creative research, now often being outsourced. Media planning is also removed from Creative agencies.

1993 – The APG launches its own Creative Planning Awards to reward the writers of briefs that inspire truly great work.

1996 – Jean- Marie Dru (TBWA) publishes ‘Disruption’ – a famed whole agency thought process aimed at positively impacting on clients’ business; led by TBWA planners across the world.

1998 – Jon Steel’s renowned book ‘Truth, Lies and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning’ is published.

2000 – Naked Communications is launched, fusing media and creative planning into a new strategic approach to communications planning.

2003 – Planners become increasingly digitally aware. Russell Kennedy of Wieden & Kennedy publishes his first blog and the ‘plannersphere’ is born.

2004 – The AdLab blog launches. A new generation of digitally aware and savvy planners are recognised. Apparently we Tweet, we blog, we update, and we can work our way around the internet like a Chihuahua chasing a hamster….

Hope this helps guys….

Charlie x


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