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

You Only Get One Chance To Impress. And If You Do It Right, That’s All You Should Need.
August 27, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Reagan Insight

So for reasons I still don’t quite grasp, many American’s believe Ronald Reagan was their best ever president.

Yes … better than Lincoln, Washington, Kennedy or Roosevelt.

Of course, this is also a nation that thinks Fox News offers ‘fair and balanced’ reporting, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

To be fair to the C-grade, cigarette peddling actor, there were some things he did/said/believed that were pretty good.

He didn’t believe in knee-jerk reactions for one.

He once said “vengeance isn’t the name of the game, we have got to protect against over–reaction” … which compared to a few presidents who followed him, shows a level of maturity you’d never expect from a man who once made a living riding horses in terrible, terrible movies.

Anyway, I recently saw a quote of his that I thought was a good lesson for adland.

To be honest, I have no idea of the context he said it, but I have to say I’ve seen way too many planners and creatives finish their presentation and then have to go back right to the beginning to explain why their idea is right.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a bunch of people out there than couldn’t open a packet of cornflakes without a video guide, but there’s also a hell of a lot who are smart, sharp and commercially savvy and if they don’t get why your idea or strategy is right, then maybe you have to look at what you’ve done or how you’ve done it.

For me, it all comes down to knowing what the real problem is you’re trying to solve and preparing your argument clearly and concisely.

That doesn’t mean you have to be uber-rational nor does it mean you have to bore them to death with a 10,000 page powerpoint … you just have to appreciate that just because you think something is right doesn’t mean others will so you have to make sure you construct an argument that gives people the confidence to buy rather than something that purely tries to sell someone into acceptance.

That’s why I hate when adland uses the word ‘brave’ to describe work.

Or at least when the agency behind the work defines it that way.

No work should be brave. Behind everything provocative or innovative should be an argument that shows it to be a wise commercial decision … even if to the outsider, the logic is more twisted than a M. Night Shyamala plot.

Being questioned about your strategy/work doesn’t mean it’s wrong or you’ve failed – it can also mean they’re interested and want to know more – but for me, the best way to judge how well you’ve done your job is if the questions you’re asked post presentation are less about ‘why’ you’re doing it and more about ‘how to make it happen’ … because to paraphrase Reagan, if you find yourself having to justify, you’ve not made the most of your chance.


23 Comments so far
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I did not like Ronald Reagan as an actor, let alone as a president, but I do like that statement. Or more accurately speaking, your interpretation of that statement.
Your perspective on what actually constitutes as a good meeting is also great. I have met too many individuals who believe a good meeting is having secured another meeting with no actual end goal in sight.

Comment by George

Best actor of his generation. Especially when he was playing the role of president.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You almost scared me with that comment Billy. Then you did scare me by making me laugh.

Comment by Rob

How would you know if he was a good president? You were a teenage limey living in limeyland 400 years ago.

Comment by Billy Whizz

i didnt know you were that fucking old george. or maybe youre just reliving your fucking know it all planner days where you just needed 99% confidence and 1% knowledge to get any fucker to believe you. except me.

Comment by andy@cynic

In other news, are you still going to be in SF on Monday as I’m now getting there that afternoon and am hoping I can gatecrash your get-together.

Comment by Rob

if i fucking have to.

Comment by andy@cynic

You don’t have to Andrew, I can kick you out on Sunday if you prefer.

Comment by George

fuck off, ive got your fucking hospitality to exploit.

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t think you interpreted what Reagan meant with that phrase, his policy was “never explain” from his Star Wars project to the Iran-contra affair. If you have done anything, you have just legitimised the approach.

Comment by Bazza

That’s a bit harsh. Robert isn’t advocating you just communicate the top line, just to make sure your argument is sound so that any subsequent questions don’t force you to restate your point of view. Are you suffering from relaunch iPhone 6 stresses?

Comment by George

Prepare for jealousy.

Comment by Bazza

make him really jealous and give me one of the fuckers for free. you could even give me a fucking 3g because no fucker will be able to tell the difference from the other 5000 versions you money grabbing fuckers have launched.

Comment by andy@cynic

When Reagan came up with his missile program and named it Star Wars, he almost ruined the memory of Like, Han and Yoda forever. Than Lucas did it by introducing Jar Jar Binks.

Comment by DH

That’s very true Dave. I will be very interested to see how Disney deal with the franchise. The early signs are good, but I hope Buzz Lightyear doesn’t make a presence. I like Buzz, just not in Star Wars.

Comment by Rob

I’m doomed.

Comment by john

We all are John.

Comment by George

You’re less doomed than the rest of us George.

Comment by DH

and doddsy is more doomed. so basically dodds is talking a bit of fucking sense and auntie george is trying to be down with the common folk even though the bastard is living on gravy train street.

Comment by andy@cynic

Which you and I are going to exploit this weekend Andy. Hey, that’s not freeloading, I call that capitalist rebellion. Or something.

Comment by Rob

and what the fuck do you call it when you sponge off people so fucking much you end up being richer than the poor bastards. oh, i know, a trainee fucking banker.

Comment by andy@cynic

Definitely a banker.

Comment by DH

[…] I’ve seen far too many presentations that only deliver on one of those attributes and the reality is the work either never gets made or you wish it never was made and that’s why getting someone to buy your strategy requires real thought and ‘beating up’ before you commit anything to paper/powerpoint/keynote/film because as Ronald Reagan said, if you’re explaining, you’re losing. […]

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