Admap classic: the anatomy of account planning

Stephen King

Tracking account planning is rather like counting a mixed batch of tropical fish. You think you see patterns, but they've all changed by the time you've finished counting.

There's little doubt about its growth. Today most top UK agencies have planning departments and most of the recent new UK agency wave have them built into the letterheading (at least one of Beagle, Bargle, D'Annunzio, Twigg & Privet will be a planner).

Yet the current approach of agencies varies between the integral and the nonexistent. It's impossible to imagine Boase Massimi Pollitt without account planners. At the same time it has recently been announced, in suitably crude language and to no one's surprise, that there's no room for account planning at McCanns.

I don't think one should just throw up one's hands at this diversity. It seems to me that the future of account planning, and maybe indeed of advertising agencies themselves, depends on our teasing out correctly the historical strands – three in particular.