Exploratory research into the expectations of advertising managers concerning agency creative work was undertaken as the first stage of a grounded longitudinal study. A series of depth interviews revealed how major advertisers attempt to obtain desired creative work through an extensive agency briefing and response process. 'Power and influence' during this process emerged as a key issue for these managers. Analysis of depth interviews with managers with direct responsibility for the commissioning of creative work for major advertisers suggested a range of influence strategies were used in their pursuit of the desired work. Such strategies seemed to follow a pattern of rapid escalation similar to a pattern observed in the management of urgent change.