One of the joys of running your own agency, besides filling the swimming pool in our co-op with gold coins and swimming through them, is that you have certain freedoms that I never enjoyed while working for a big global conglomerate.
Among those freedoms are friendship.
Once you make it a principle to work only for people you respect and like, you can all of a sudden do better work than ever before because your clients' hearts are in the right place and so is yours.
That's abstruse, I know.
But here's what I mean.
I read something the other night about cops at target ranges--at least back in the old days.
When practicing their shooting they would aim at a large silhouette of a bad guy aiming at them. Lore among the cops had it this way. "Don't pretend that guy is aiming at you. Pretend he's aiming at your family."
Well, fuck a duck.
That takes the copping business to a whole new level.
That's the way I feel working for clients on my own. It's more important than I ever imagined it could be. It's my me I am working for. My integrity. My reason. My meaning.
I ain't just working for an agency and a holding company that are lining their pockets with the sweat of my ass, preparatory to throwing me out when I pass a certain age or salary band, now I am working for people who are as invested in me as I am in them. And for myself.
All the platitudes that you hear so often in agency life, "our clients success are our success," are suddenly really real.
Ever since my days at Ally & Gargano in the early 90s, I've called certain agencies and certain accounts within agencies "golf course agencies." Clients weren't working with the agency because they were getting brilliant work. They were working with the agency because of some marzipan-complected handshake made on a golf course.
I don't play golf. And I don't dig the bullshit. The fake smiles, the crappy lies, the soft, damp clasps.
When I got shitcanned and lied to by Ogilvy and went off and started my own place, I first did a lot of thinking. I was raised by an abusive set of parents but I learned this from that. No one is totally useless, they can always serve as a bad example.
That's what I learned when I was fired and started my own thing.
I would do everything differently from how they did things.
My ears would be in every ad.
Along with my eyes, my brain, my sinew and my heart.
There'd be no technocratic administrative bullshit or theoretical folderol about marketing. There'd be no ego getting in the way.
There'd just be work that defined brands and created lust around them.
I don't care that those definitions and lusts might appear on a client's linked in page, their about section, an investor presentation or a national spot. I don't care how big or small the ask is. The ask itself is huge. It's asking to be seen and liked.
That's a big job.
And a simple job.
And a sweaty job.
And worth it.