This is an idea for anyone who has the dubious pleasure of being the 'Client' of an advertising/creative agency. These days it is normal practice for creatives to be in meetings with clients, presenting work, responding to questions, talking through ideas etc., and that has got to be a good thing. But I think it would be very interesting for clients to find out a bit more, up-close-and-personal, about the people who will be given the responsibility of coming up with the stuff that ultimately has to work for them.
Obviously, everyone who an agency wheels into a meeting with a prospective client, or at a pitch, or at a presentation is going to 'say the right things' and have an understanding of the client's business and what they are trying to achieve.
But if you are a client looking for an agency, or you already have an agency but you haven't done this - do this. Ask to meet the creative department. Be firm, don't take no for an answer. The agency might try to find ways to distract you, but insist - it's your right.
Don't settle for meeting a couple of senior people, or an awkward group meeting. Ask to be given the run of the creative department for an hour. Pop in and see as many different creatives and teams as possible, at all levels; juniors, middleweights, placement teams - and just chat to them for a couple of minutes. Ask them what they are working on, ask them what their favourite campaign is and why, ask them what they think their Creative Director is looking for in their work. Ask them why they got into the business, what they think makes for a successful campaign, what their own most successful campaign is. You get the picture. Find a bit about what is going on at the business end of the agency. It'll give you a good insight into the company, and the people, and the culture. And you might find out what the people doing your advertising are really interested in.
And I think in some cases you might find that very interesting indeed.