Monday, April 11, 2011

Becoming an overnight success.

Dave Trott's post this morning "How to Get Laid" set me thinking about this one.

A little more than a decade ago I had the best "run" of my career. I was on a major account and was in the groove. I sold campaign after campaign after campaign. It wasn't unusual for me to open up "The New York Times" or "The Wall Street Journal" and see two or three of my ads. Seeing your ads in major newspapers feels good.

While this was going on, I started hearing things from co-workers about how "lucky" I was. How "political." How much of a "brown-nose." In short, a lot of my so-called colleagues saw my success and reckoned I did something nefarious to get there.

What they didn't see was my computer hard-drive. I had rows and rows of documents and each of those documents had scores and scores of headlines. Literally I had written probably 25 headlines for each ad that got produced. It wasn't unusual for me to have a dozen or more copy-decks, each reflecting client revisions--many of which were banal and capricious. Many times the client would say "I need an ad about _______ to be in the paper Thursday." I would stay all night working on it and show them work the next day.

No one saw the work I did. They only saw the success I achieved.

I remember talking to my daughter about it. She was 14 at the time.

"Sarah," I said, "it's taken me 40 years to become an overnight success."


Tore Claesson said...

I can certainly confirm that you indeed worked as hard as you describe. I was there to witness it and on occasional lucky days there to art direct some of it. As a matter of fact the first time we worked together, in Paris, I was flabbergasted by how much you produced while the rest of us where still having our croissants and cafe au laits. Keep it up. You'll outrun them all.

geo said...

Well, Tore, you made most of that work happen.