Apparently every day we are exposed to around 1,000 advertising messages.

We don’t see or hear them.

They’re just part of the background.

Just like wallpaper, or carpet.

Now think about our job.

Which of those 1,000 do you remember from yesterday?

Probably not all of them, right?

Okay, which ten can you remember?

Nope, okay how about just the top half-a-dozen?


Two or three then?


How about one, can you remember one advertising message from yesterday?

One out of a thousand.

Now that’s the scale of the problem.

That’s what we do.

We need to get noticed and remembered.

And we’ve got 1,000 other ads trying to get in the way.

Plus everything else that’s going on in the consumer’s life.

Love to think about, work to do, friends to see, bills to pay, family to worry about, news to catch up on, things to read, phone calls to make.

And our job is to break through that and get noticed.

Considerably harder than 1 out of a thousand then.

I think advertising takes up maybe 5% of the average person’s attention.

And we have one-tenth of 1% share of voice, in that 5%.

To get noticed and remembered.

Meanwhile we work with people who don’t agree on what our job is.

People who assume that just making and running an ad means it automatically gets attention.

And every one of them is an expert in their own area.

And every one believes their area is the most important part of the job.

So every one wants us to concentrate on the details of their job.

Details that will take our attention away from our job.

Getting noticed and remembered.

When you feel like that, read this.

It’s a letter from The Duke of Wellington, sent to The War Office from Spain in 1812.

See if it feels familiar:

Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty’s Government holds me accountable.

I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer.

Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion’s petty cash, and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain.

This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty’s Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains.


I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below.

I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or, perchance,

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant,