Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Joe Sample and advertising.

A friend pointed me in the direction of Joe Sample’s obituary. Sample died last Friday at the age of 75. You can read his obit here.

I never really followed Sample's music, more because my tastes run to bebop, classic jazz and blues than his genre-bending blends. But that’s ok. You don’t have to love someone’s work to be able to learn something from his life.

What I got from Sample’s death notice was this quotation: “Unfortunately, in this country, there’s a lot of prejudice against the various forms of music. The jazz people hate the blues, the blues people hate rock, and the rock people hate jazz. But how can anyone hate music? We tend to not hate any form of music, so we blend it all together.”

Yesterday I listened to an interview with an ex-boss and current friend of mine, a guy I have a great deal of respect for. He was talking about how “analog” and “digital” creative can work together better, can get along.

You know, so the digital people don’t hate the analog people and vice-versa.

I think, as an industry, we make collegiality entirely too hard. We act as if digital guy and an analog guy getting along is about as likely as Glenn Beck and Elizabeth Warren French kissing.

Fifteen years ago, when I was working on a major global account, my boss gave me a simple brief. “Make 360 work.”

I think it’s not that hard. Show people and tell people that you won’t tolerate territorial bullshit. And, as Sample points out above, find people who love all forms of advertising. Who get excited by doing cool stuff. Who enjoy newness and challenges and laughter. People who focus more on doing things than on the boundaries between those things.

I really do think it’s that simple.

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