Thursday, February 5, 2009

I don't approve.

I'm thinking this morning about perfection (and no, I haven't been spending time in front of the mirror, my chiseled abs glistening with sweat from my morning workout.) The sort of perfection I'm thinking of is different. It is perfection that has as its opposite experimentation.

Here's the struggle we are confronting now with our "stimulus package" and with most of the advertising we attempt to create, sell and produce.

If you think about it we literally go through months of agony making an ad campaign (or even a single ad) perfect. Some of this is the anal-ness of agencies. Some of it is the anal-ness of clients. After we have an idea we revise, revise, revise. We address concerns, concerns, concerns. We include this scintilla of information that was missing. We make it perfect, then subject it to focus groups and perfect it some more.

This is why it takes us so long to actually get work in the market. At which point it's so perfect is sucks.

The other way is to try something. To capitalize on what's in the news. To exploit a quick hit. To be extemporaneous and topical.

A decade and a half ago I got fired from FCB. Even though I probably produced more work (and more good work) than anyone else in the network. Here's why I got fired (besides being "insubordinate" according to HR.) I got fired because when you make something people can sit in judgment of it--they can shoot at it. If all you do is talk about what you're going to do, or supervise work, you are unassailable. The same holds true in clientville.

Doing equals screwing.
Inaction is job satisfaction.

Work is never perfect. You can't step into the same river twice. But it is always better to do something than to do nothing.

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