Often, account men think they’d like to be a copywriter.
The creative department looks more fun.
No one does much work.
They sit around and play music or look at photography books, or YouTube all day.
And the account guy knows he can write puns.
In fact his messages, on staff leaving cards and birthday cards, are funnier than what the copywriters write.
So he writes a script for a commercial.
And the creative director doesn’t buy it.
So he never writes anything again.
He can’t handle rejection.
He wrote one thing and he expected it to get bought.
When it didn’t get bought he was destroyed.
The creative department is no place for anyone who can’t handle rejection.
Our lives are about rejection.
When you start, you have to do roughly two dozen roughs to get six that you think are good enough to show the crerative director.
If you’re lucky, he’ll pick three to show the client.
If you’re lucky, the client will only turn down two.
And you’ll have an ad running.
Of course, you’ll have twenty three ads rejected as not good enough.
The difference is, you’ll forget all about them because you’ve got an ad running.
They were just stepping stones on the way.
Michelangelo once carved a massive horse out of a block of marble.
He was asked how he could create such a beautiful object from such a massive shapeless lump.
He said, “Easy. I just cut away everything that isn’t the horse.”
Rejected ads are like that to us.
The chips of stone that we have to get out of the way so that we can get to the thing we want.
When I started at BMP, my ratio was about one good ad out of every eight roughs.
In the next offices, the senior teams were doing one good ad for every four roughs.
So I knew it was just a matter of numbers.
If they did four roughs, I’d do sixteen.
Then they’d have one good ad, but I’d have two good ads.
I would look twice as good as them even though I was actually only half as good.
Because no one would see me throwing away four times as many roughs.
Rejection is just part of our job.
The way running is to a footballer.
You run and run, and sweat and puff, for an hour and a half for nothing.
And suddenly you connect, and the ball goes in the net.
Then everything else disappears, and that moment expands to fill your whole world.