The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


A Reminder For Anyone In Adland …
November 14, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I once was invited to attend a meeting with one of the World’s most successful and recognised business leaders.

In the room were about 12 other people – all from the same organisation – preparing to discuss a business opportunity that was on the table.

Why I was there is a very long and complicated story, of which I am sure they would rather I keep to myself, but for the record, I was incredibly excited to be invited as ‘an observer’.

Everything was going well – the mood was light and jovial – when one of the attendees made, even by my standards, an outlandish and arrogant statement.

Without so much as a pause, the business leader fired back:

“You have to earn the right to be arrogant and even then, you’d be wise not to.”

While the mood in the room suddenly darkened, it was an enlightening experience for me.

Here was a man who had achieved success based on pretty much any metric you could throw at him and yet he still appreciated and valued respect.

Sure, you could say his response wasn’t exactly a demonstration of that, but ‘respect’ doesn’t mean being passive or gentle or sickly sweet – it means not taking things for granted … assuming you have all the answers … thinking you’re better than everyone else … sitting back on past glories.

Sadly, a lot of Adland seem to have an alternative view.

They think this behaviour is perfectly acceptable.

Worse, some seem to think it is the way they should act.

Walking around like they are Kings, when all they’ve actually done is make a few ads.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they had consistently delivered greatness, but our industry happily prays at the feet of whoever has created the new, new thing.

Thank god there are some amazingly good and clever guys in this industry.

People who lead by example rather than popularity.

People who know it’s not just what you’ve done in the past, but what you do now.

People who strive to to solve problems, not just advertise them.

And that is why if you hear someone being arrogant, it’s highly likely they’re hiding behind it, because the truly great don’t act that way – or at least most of them don’t – which is why if you work in adland and want to create great things with great people, it’s OK to be firm … it’s OK to confident … it’s OK to challenge … but for your sake, more than others:

Don’t. Be. A. Dick.

__________________________________________________________________________

PS: Yes, I know I don’t qualify for this. You don’t have to point this out. Andy.


44 Comments so far
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Absolutely. It’s one of the reasons why I like this blog, there are lots of us who read it and have varying opinions, sometimes we disagree considerably (Andy), and sometimes we agree (not Andy), but everyone always shows just the right balance of respect and disrespect.

Arrogance is terrible, especially for planners. Finding the line between a strong, grounded opinion and arrogance is so very important.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You like this blog? I only come for a good excuse to get Mr Jack D out.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You know there’s a british comedian called Jack D.

So it sounds like you come on here to be his stalker. His gay stalker.

Comment by DH

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Dee

Comment by DH

If I looked like him I’d turn to the other Jack D too. Are all limeys fucking miserable?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Where else can I see an angry planner with dodgy music taste, the angriest man in the world, the second angriest man in the world when talking about Media Arts, and the may other crazy characters that venture here.

This blog is like the pub in a dodgy American sitcom.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

american comedy? its a fucking greek tragedy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Jerry Springer. Which I’m guessing makes Rob very happy.

Comment by DH

Yes Dave, short of midget fighting, this blog has all the attributes of a classic Mr Springer show.

Plus we have Baz, so in some respects, the midget issue is also being covered.

Comment by Rob

you fucking bastard campbell. good work.

Comment by andy@cynic

Look after yourself, and each other.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Rob. We all know who you’re talking about so I don’t know why you’re trying to be discreet.

Comment by DH

That’s Rob C, not Rob M.

Congratulations Rob M. Being the first to comment on here is quite an accolade. Not a good accolade, but an accolade all the same.

Comment by DH

I usually get here last due to the times I venture on, but today I got in early. A mediocre accolade is better than no accolade, or at least so the saying goes for many creative directors when entering awards.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

you wont make that fucking mistake again will you.

Comment by andy@cynic

He doesn’t want to screw up his free flight pipeline.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Oops. I haven’t just done that for you have I Rob? Shame.

Comment by Billy Whizz

The photo on this post is good. Not that it will represent Andy’s daughter in a few years. Not possible.

Comment by DH

my daughter is perfect in every fucking way and that includes not giving her old man shit just because she is going through some biological changes. thats an undeniable, unfuckingquestionable fact.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is a great post with a great point. I agree with Rob (M), it also helps explains why visiting this blog is a daily (except weekends) must do for me, because amongst the mud slinging and occasional post about Rob (C) unnatural love for his friend Paul, there’s some great, thought provoking posts that encourage some great, thought provoking comments.

Your final paragraph should be adopted by the APG.

Comment by Pete

My favourite line when applying for grad jobs a few years back was on DDB’s form as part of their detail on who they hire. Apparently it was a Bernbach quote, though not 100% sure on that.

“Life is too short to spend it working with dickheads.”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

judging by the way ddb is operating these days, that rule no longer fucking applies.

Comment by andy@cynic

As my bro works there I won’t comment on that one…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Excellent post Robert with some excellent advice. I wonder who will remember to follow it. It takes a special person to remember their progress has as much to do with the character they show in the work they produce as it does the actual work they produce.
The photo accompanying this post is of particular importance to me. When my first daughter was born, my wife gently informed me that while I will always love her, there will be a period of a few years, where I will be of an annoyance to her. This obviously deeply upset me, but I was told it was normal. Then, in the intervening years, my wife presented me with 2 other beautiful daughters, so I look at that photo and remember that soon, I will be entering a period lasting approximately a decade, of unrelenting daughter/father torment.
Thank you for that Robert.

Comment by George

Your comment demonstrates my point about this blog perfectly. Great comment and parental education George.

Comment by Pete

my wife hasnt given me that speech. fucking good job my daughter is the exception to all the common daughter rules.

and just before mary comes and smashes my fucking face in. your daughters are fucking wonderful. thank fuck they take after their mother, not their auntie father.

Comment by andy@cynic

Wise move Andrew. You’re a strategist after all.

Comment by George

That’s better advice than anything Super Nanny churned out.

Comment by Rob

I’m doomed.

Comment by John

Is that because you’re admitting you’re a dick?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Obviously.

Comment by John

Don’t worry John, we all are.

Comment by Rob

I enjoyed this Robert. It’s not entirely true, I know of one notable exception who was definitely a genius rather than an impostor but was still prone to bouts of absolute arrogance and dick like behavior. Plus even the most accommodating of leader can turn aggressive dictator if they’re pushed enough, but as a virtue to follow, I couldn’t agree more.

And George. That’s some fine advice you’re giving out there.

Comment by Bazza

oh i wonder who the fuck youre talking about. between you and campbell, you have the discretion of a ny post front page.

Comment by andy@cynic

With the amount of escapades we went through at cynic, you should hope I’m right and you’re wrong.

Comment by Bazza

Enjoyable read. Of course I know the meeting you are referring to because I was also present. The fact I remember it so clearly highlights the rare nature of such an exchange. Obviously your disruptive nature was infectious that day.

Comment by Lee Hill

Always Rob’s fault.

Comment by DH

Blame the messenger why don’t you.

Comment by Rob

if the insult fucking fits.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well at least I now understand a bit more about what happened!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Morning!

Comment by Marcus

Hello lovely!

Comment by Rob

Very wise words, but too late for most I fear.
One thing I could never stand about 50% of the people at Mother was how they believed the had to ‘act’ cool and aloof and downright arrogant.
Always thankful for the other 50% who were not only nice, but actually good rather just pretentious.
I often wonder if that’s why they lose new clients so quickly, even these days, cleints let agenies fail a bit, but not when they’re so hard to work with. When your work tends to all or nothing and high risk, it pays to try help people to like you
For those of us who aren’t any good ever, it pays to be even nicer of course

Comment by northern

The alternative – which is obviously the methodology I favor – is blackmail.

You’re right about some agency people trying desperately to be seen as ‘cool’. The worst thing is that many people buy into it and think they’re special because of it.

But of course it’s not just agency folk who act like that. There’s still too many planners I meet who want to be seen as interesting rather than do interesting things.

Fuck me, I should be in the new Grumpy Old Men show.

Comment by Rob




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