Your Maker looks out for 'an ailing brand' to help with complimentary creative work

Your Maker, an agency co-founded by Malaysian creative Lee Tak Shune, is selecting one client to assist in its creative work at no cost, be it copywriting, a brand revamp or creating a full campaign proposal. Titled "Nak Kasi Cucuk Free Boleh", which plays on the country's COVID-19 vaccination programme, wants to help brands cut through the clutter by offering "a serious dose of unboring, cut-through, locally rooted work", Your Maker said in a Facebook post.

"If you're someone working with an ailing brand, write to us and show us your latest work. If you’re someone who knows someone working with an ailing brand, share this with them," it added.

When asked how it determines who is a nice client to help, Lee told A+M that a great client is someone who is "open to bold work and will put their necks on the line to defend it" with the agency. "They ask for things nicely, and listen to an agency respectfully. They know their place and don’t pretend to know how to do our work," he said.

On the other hand, he describes bad clients to be those who "ask for fresh and disruptive work, and then demand five examples of where it has been done before". "They insist that their children can art direct and write better than a seasoned creative. They scream at suits like they do to their helpers whose passports they’ve hidden. They are rude and obnoxious because it helps mask the fact that they are horrible at their jobs," he explained. Lee added that Your Maker always does background checks before working with any clients.

As of this week, four clients have written in but Lee is unable to disclose the names. He hopes that other agencies will follow suit and come up with initiatives that champion good relationships with great clients. "We should never have to go the extra mile for those who treat us like slaves. We are in the business of branding, and we should stop branding ourselves as people who are always willing to take sh*t from people," he said.

That said, Your Maker is not seeking any revenue increase from this initiative, given that the potential client could be a company without much funds. If anything, Lee said this initiative would probably turn away many potential clients because "there are more bad ones out there". "If we’re lucky, they might see the error in their ways, be inspired by our ‘calling them out’, and be willing to work with us," he added.

Last April, Your Maker also rallied the community to help small businesses through its Kira Dulu initiative. Consumers paid for a meal or service offered by a small business and got to enjoy it once the Movement Control Order ends. While Lee declined to comment on the number of small businesses it managed to help through Kira Dulu, he told A+M previously at the time of writing that the team has spoken to eight businesses and published three boosted posts targeted at consumers. The businesses included Aiman Santai Char Kway Teow and an individual from East Malaysia.

According to Lee, respect is one of the main factors that makes for a good client-agency relationship. "And lots of being stupid together so we can fail together, and have fun celebrating the wins when we get stuff right," he added. 

To ensure there is a genuine form of mutual respect, Lee said clients could allow for more transparency even before briefing sessions so agencies know what is really going on before tackling a brand’s problems, and be more immersed in the creative process. "This means that they should be open to brainstorming together, as well as come up with briefs together and strategy together. That way everyone can see their personal investment in terms of time and effort amounting to something in the end," he added.

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