Monday, March 14, 2011

Doing vs. Talking.

My first job in this business was as a copywriter at Bloomingdale's. Retail writ large. I literally wrote about 10 ads a week. Most of them with headlines as compelling as "Plush cotton towels 30%-40% off."

When I got my first agency job, in my first year I think I produced 12 ads, more print than anyone else in the agency. The slowness of the pace, the amount of picking, the endless conversations and nonsense before an ad got approved fairly drove me crazy.

Today, of course, we're lucky if we produce four ads a year. The level of scrutiny, the layers of client approval pretty much obviate your ability to create ads that are timely and in step with what's happening in the larger world.

There are two ways you can choose to go through life--inside or out of an agency. You can do things, make things happen, put your ass out there. Or you can sit back and talk about things so that nothing gets done.

It reminds me of an old joke about a woman who dies at 73 after 48 years of marriage and she's still a virgin. When she gets to heaven, St. Peter asks her how this is possible. And she replies, "Oh, my husband was in advertising. Every night he sat on the side of the bed and told me how great it was going to be."

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