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So a while back, I got an email from a friend of mine who works with students.
One of the things he said was that when he speaks to young guys who are interested in advertising, he’s started to notice that they do not want to be planners [or designers, or art directors etc] … the want to be like Faris, Gareth and me.
No, apparently that is not a joke, even though it is.
A massive, shiny, ugly, joke.
OK, I admit, when I first heard about this, I kind of flattered.
Then, after about 2 seconds, I was genuinely appalled.
Flattered, because being associated with those two is a huge compliment [even though they won’t feel the same way] plus it’s always nice to hear others think the things you do or think are interesting or appealing.
Appalled, because the last thing anyone interested in advertising should do is listen to people in advertising.
Especially people in advertising who are paid to talk rather than do.
OK, I’m being a bit harsh on myself, because like the other guys, I’ve always tried to do shit rather than talk/write about it – even if this blog might make it appear differently … but regardless of all that, the fact is there’s a bunch of people out there who are far better to learn from and listen to than me.
Oh Jesus, this is all coming across like a humble brag isn’t it.
It’s sooooo not to sound like that. I blame being English – or at least being half English – because we’re not good at talking about ourselves in positive terms and when we do, it always comes across as clunky and awkward.
Anyway, the other thing that bothers me is that I worry some people forget that to get to this position [whatever that position is] you have to have paid your dues for 20+ years … doing and putting up with all manner of crap.
And before people question why they have do that, it’s not because that’s what gets you promoted [it doesn’t] it’s because that mental, frustrating, annoying shit also gives you experiences and knowledge that helps you see the bigger opportunities … not to mention equips you with the skills that let’s clients have confidence in your plans.
You see being able to ‘see the dream’, is only part of the challenge. Being able to show how you can execute that given they will have short-term needs and wants is also vital.
It’s not a case of telling them to scrap everything and start again, it’s about showing them how they can achieve the bigger goal without jeopardising their shorter-term business requirements.
Of course there will have to be some sort of sacrifice or implication in your strategy – if there isn’t, then it’s not a strategy – but it’s vital you appreciate all the things the client needs to consider rather than just fixate on the idea you like.
And that’s why I think it’s good to start at the bottom.
Some of the things I did for the first 10 years of my career were horrific.
Hell, some of the things I do now for my career are horrific … however as much as I love the idea of not having to do them, I know there’s a point where some part of it will come in handy, where the experience gained will allow me to say/do/explain/consider something that can be the difference between potential and reality.
Oh god, this is all coming out like shit.
All I’ll say is:
1. Don’t dismiss the importance and value of starting at the bottom.
2. Always experiment to find your own style & approach.
3. Get inspired by people outside your own industry and discipline.
4. Work hard.
5. Realise trust is the most important word in business, not talk.
6. Starting your own business will teach you more about everything in half the time.
7. Don’t listen to anyone advice, especially mine.
Right, I’m going before the abuse starts.
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