Friday, September 10, 2010

Come along for the ride.

About a decade ago began the best five year run of my career. I produced consistently--a lot of work, and all of it was good.

I am an inveterate filer. When I write an ad, I date and file every version of the copy, I mark every copy change. Maybe that's the historian in me. But I like to be able to look back and see the path I took to arrival.

Now during that aforementioned streak in my career, people would say to me, "your clients must be great, approving your ads as you create them." That's when my near obsessive filing would serve as a ready example. I'd open a folder I'd created and show them the 37 drafts of the copy I had written. My clients are no better or worse than any others, I would say. It's me. Along the way I have learned two things.

1. Be dogged. The difference between a good agency and a bad one is that bad agencies let clients make ads worse and good agencies keep coming back with better work.
2. Accept journey-ness. Nothing in this business is easy. If you think that the course to great work--or even work that isn't great--isn't undulating, frustrating, enervating and lots of other -atings, you're delusional.

There are no more needle-dicked clients today than there were in the heyday of advertising. There's no more reliance on pusillanimous testing procedures. There are no more client wives who don't like the color yellow.

The trick, as my brother the lawyer tells me, is to look your obstacle in the eye and say, you may be smarter than me, you may have more power than me, you may have more money than me, but in the end I will wear you down.

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