Two students from the Miami Ad SchooI came to see me.
I asked them, “Why do you want to see me?”
They said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “Why did you want to see me?”
They said, “You’re a creative director.”
I said, “Yes, but why me?”
They said, “We want you to give us a book crit.”
I said, “But why me?”
They said, “So we can make our book better.”
I said, “But why me?”
They said, “We don’t understand.”
I said, “There must be hundreds of creative directors in town. Why me?”
They said, “We don’t know. We’re just seeing creative directors.”
So from that little exchange, how have they advertised themselves?
As a creative director, here’s what I took out of it.
They’re lazy, they’re bored, and they don’t really like advertising.
They’re lazy, because they’re about to spend an hour or so listening to someone’s opinion, and they can’t even be bothered to find out who or why.
They don’t even have the energy to click on the agency website.
They’re bored, because they’re on auto pilot, just going through the motions.
They’re getting a book-crit because they’ve been told to get lots of book crits. So they’re getting book crits the way a soldier marches.
Pick ‘em up and put ‘em down, don’t think about it.
And they don’t like advertising, because they don’t want to engage with the creative process.
For them this wasn’t an opportunity to find out information in order to sell something.
This wasn’t remotely exciting.
This was a chore, a drag, a bore.
That’s how it was for them, so guess how it was for me.
And I’m a creative director, so I’m their audience.
They might as well have said, “Can we just get this over with as quickly and painlessly as possible please?”
Well yes, of course.
The quick way to get it over with is don’t do it.
Because doing it badly is worse than not doing it at all.
Which applies to advertising of course.
Given that we are supposed to be experts in communication, what are we communicating about ourselves?
When we think we’re being cool, are we really communicating that?
I was reading a book by a screenwriter who wanted to break into Hollywood.
He said the best piece of advice he had given to him was by a woman he wanted to be his agent.
She said, “Okay, I’ll take you on as a client but you need to understand something.
You need to get in my face.
You need to be on the phone, the fax, the internet, to me 24/7.
You need to be pestering me so much you make me hate you.
Because I’ve got a lot of other clients, and I’m going to forget about you.
And then this isn’t going anywhere.”
When you behave like that what do you communicate about yourself.
I’ll tell you: energy.
And, as a creative director, that’s what I want more than anything.
I can teach you to be good.
I can you teach how to do better ads.
I can’t do any of that unless you’ve got the raw material.