Where to next? Account planning at 40

John Griffiths

Account planning is in its 40th year. The discipline that originally detached an individual from the advertising development production line in order to improve the quality of the work has evolved into a worldwide movement.

After 40 years, planning is still recognisable in terms of what it delivers. It has moved from a department in just two agencies to a body that numbers over a thousand in London, reportedly 10,000 in the US, and perhaps another couple of thousand through the rest of the world.

From its origins in advertising agencies, planning can now be found in every type of communications agency. There are even planning departments in client organisations. This article inevitably has an element of despatches from the front, but what is noteworthy is how stable the planning function has been, considering how much communications have changed since the 1960s. All the more surprising, considering that planners are no more necessary to the production of communications than they were at the beginning.