Client-agency relationships are often likened to marriage, but at the recent Spikes Asia conference, Lakish Hatalkar (managing director of One Johnson & Johnson) and John Bailey (president director of DDB Indonesia), literally took this comparison to heart.

“In the end, an agency and client relationship is a lot like marriage,” Hatalkar said, adding that a quick search of “just how many people are worried about relationships – and I’m talking agencies and clients” threw up 31k internet searches on the subject.

As Hatalkar sees it, while “agencies and clients want exactly the same thing”, tensions often arise when the two struggle with differing perspectives on the approach and the ‘how’ of getting there.

He pointed out how legendary partnerships the likes of General Electric and BBDO are fast approaching their 100th year anniversary – simply because they’ve invested in making the relationship work – while DDB Indonesia and Johnson & Johnson Indonesia have continued to stay together “for the last ten years since inception” for that same reason.