When I got back from New York I didn’t know anything about advertising in London.
But I needed a job, so some mates helped me get a job in a merchant bank in the city.
I figured I didn’t want to go dragging myself all over London for interviews at different agencies.
Most of them wouldn’t have jobs anyway.
And I didn’t want any advice.
I’d just come back from New York, which in those days was light year’s ahead of London.
All I wanted to know was do you have a job?
So I figured I would make up lots of little portfolios and send them out.
I used the bank’s photocopier to make 50 copies of my portfolio.
Then I used the bank’s postal system to send them out.
I just looked in The Yellow Pages under ‘advertising’.
In a week I had my answer.
18 replies, with 2 job offers.
That sounds good until you think about it.
That’s 30 people that didn’t even bother replying.
So that’s 48 rejections in all.
If I’d gone the conventional route of taking my book around to agencies, how long would that have taken?
Well, if you could manage an interview every other day, which would be quite a lot, it would take you over 4 months.
4 months of trudging around, paying tube fares, being told no.
How depressing is that?
This way I had the answers in a week.
I didn’t need to see the ones that didn’t have jobs.
And I could choose between the two jobs available.
The agencies were quite different.
They were both good, but one was press agency (BBDO, Creative Director Peter Mayle).
The other was a TV agency (BMP, Creative Director John Webster).
It was a tough decision, which one to take.
I figured, I’m a junior so all I can really do is press.
So I should go to the press agency, right?
Well think about it.
If I go to the press agency, all the seniors will be fighting for press.
So I won’t get much.
But if I go to the TV agency, all the seniors will be fighting for TV.
There won’t be any competition for press.
So I should get all the press the seniors don’t want to do.
So I picked the TV agency, BMP.
And that’s how it turned out.
I got as much press as I could do.
But if I had gone the conventional interview route, I wouldn’t have been able to choose.
Instead of getting all my answers in at once, I would have had them one at a time.
In which case I would have taken whichever job came up first.
Which is a weaker position be in.
We’re in advertising.
We wouldn’t give advice like that to a client.
We should take the advice we give other people.