Sunday, July 17, 2011

The past 14 months.

I am off this evening for a week on the left coast, shooting a campaign for my client with Errol Morris.

I've been working on the campaign for well over a year. I've lasted through three group account directors and a series of creative people who, once they saw the vicissitudes of this particular piece of business, packed their bags for purportedly sunnier, more ambient climes.

I've written, over the course of this year, something on the order of 200 scripts on this campaign. Probably half of those I showed the client. After all these months and scripts and meetings and disappointments, back in mid-May, they finally bought three. Those three, somehow survived the self-fulfilling prophecy we call testing and after some more sturm und drang around directors, casting and, mostly, budget, I'm on the way to shooting something.

I've learned a lot running through this client gauntlet. Or, better, I should say a lot of what I know and have always known has been confirmed over the past year.

1. Until someone can do things better than you can, you should do them yourself.
2. It's not dead if you keep fighting for life.
3. Keep coming back with something better. The best revenge is a better ad.
4. Know what you want and keep demanding it until you either a) get it or b) get fired. This is better than compromise.
5. Always do more than you're asked to do. Always try to sell more to your client than they've asked for.
6. Around everything you try to do there is a chorus of chatter that "wouldn't do it that way." It's best to ignore that chatter.
7. Hard work and persistence can overcome nearly anything.
8. It doesn't hurt to thank the client at the end of every meeting and phone call.
9. The people who have never done it before always say they know a better way to do it.
10. Stay away from breakfast burritos. You're way better off with a simple bowl of cornflakes and a banana.


Tore Claesson said...

3. Keep coming back with something better. The best revenge is a better ad.

Well, if that's the case then all is good. Problem is that a lot of often really good ideas die in the process. And in the end, the stuff that survives all the testing and overthink and meetings and scrutinizing is the mediocre stuff that makes up the majoirity of what we call advertising. Bland and predictable, not at all memeorable, but very well crafted.

Bukes said...

"Keep coming back with something better. The best revenge is a better ad." I'm hanging this on my wall next to Mark Fenske's "hard work is a waste of time if your idea sucks."

Anonymous said...

ahh mr morris. real people campaign.hope its different because its a form that gets old fast.

Anonymous said...

Real people testimonials via the Interrotron?? Christ George, with all of your industry criticism, I expect more than that.

Paris Thomas

george tannenbaum said...

It's nice to know what you're talking about, anon, before you talk.

Anonymous said...

“You can have everybody coming in on time, everybody leaving on time, all work finished on
the due date, and still have a lousy ad, and fail."