The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If You Listen To Me, You’re Mental …
March 25, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So a while back, I got an email from a friend of mine who works with students.

One of the things he said was that when he speaks to young guys who are interested in advertising, he’s started to notice that they do not want to be planners [or designers, or art directors etc] … the want to be like Faris, Gareth and me.

No, apparently that is not a joke, even though it is.

A massive, shiny, ugly, joke.

OK, I admit, when I first heard about this, I kind of flattered.

Then, after about 2 seconds, I was genuinely appalled.

Flattered, because being associated with those two is a huge compliment [even though they won’t feel the same way] plus it’s always nice to hear others think the things you do or think are interesting or appealing.

Appalled, because the last thing anyone interested in advertising should do is listen to people in advertising.

Especially people in advertising who are paid to talk rather than do.

OK, I’m being a bit harsh on myself, because like the other guys, I’ve always tried to do shit rather than talk/write about it – even if this blog might make it appear differently … but regardless of all that, the fact is there’s a bunch of people out there who are far better to learn from and listen to than me.

Oh Jesus, this is all coming across like a humble brag isn’t it.

It’s sooooo not to sound like that. I blame being English – or at least being half English – because we’re not good at talking about ourselves in positive terms and when we do, it always comes across as clunky and awkward.

Anyway, the other thing that bothers me is that I worry some people forget that to get to this position [whatever that position is] you have to have paid your dues for 20+ years … doing and putting up with all manner of crap.

And before people question why they have do that, it’s not because that’s what gets you promoted [it doesn’t] it’s because that mental, frustrating, annoying shit also gives you experiences and knowledge that helps you see the bigger opportunities … not to mention equips you with the skills that let’s clients have confidence in your plans.

You see being able to ‘see the dream’, is only part of the challenge. Being able to show how you can execute that given they will have short-term needs and wants is also vital.

It’s not a case of telling them to scrap everything and start again, it’s about showing them how they can achieve the bigger goal without jeopardising their shorter-term business requirements.

Of course there will have to be some sort of sacrifice or implication in your strategy – if there isn’t, then it’s not a strategy – but it’s vital you appreciate all the things the client needs to consider rather than just fixate on the idea you like.

And that’s why I think it’s good to start at the bottom.

Some of the things I did for the first 10 years of my career were horrific.

Hell, some of the things I do now for my career are horrific … however as much as I love the idea of not having to do them, I know there’s a point where some part of it will come in handy, where the experience gained will allow me to say/do/explain/consider something that can be the difference between potential and reality.

Oh god, this is all coming out like shit.

All I’ll say is:

1. Don’t dismiss the importance and value of starting at the bottom.
2. Always experiment to find your own style & approach.
3. Get inspired by people outside your own industry and discipline.
4. Work hard.
5. Realise trust is the most important word in business, not talk.
6. Starting your own business will teach you more about everything in half the time.
7. Don’t listen to anyone advice, especially mine.

Right, I’m going before the abuse starts.

30 Comments so far
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if any fucker needs proof the education system is going down the fucking pan you just have to direct the deaf and dumb fucks to this post. but thats fucking nothing compared to how fucked its going to be when campbell becomes a teacher. unless hes a teacher of being fucked up and stupid.

Comment by andy@cynic

but those 7 points are quite good. #7 is best by a fucking mile but the other 6 arent totally fucked up. who wrote them for you?

Comment by andy@cynic

You don’t specify in what capacity your friend works with students.

Comment by John

a teacher at the jimmy saville school of fucking etiquette.

Comment by andy@cynic

Which students? Expel them immediately.

Comment by DH

They won’t be students of hairdressing or fashion that’s for sure.

Comment by Bazza

Music neither, I’m afraid.

Comment by Miguel

In other news.

Comment by DH

on the bright side campbell, it made me fucking laugh.

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t get me started Dave. Our collapse from title favourites to perennial bridesmaids has shocked me.

I know it shouldn’t given it has happened so often – but I honestly thought this year would be different.

The manager had to go … especially after the 5-0 drubbing at the hands of our arch-enemies on Saturday. Yes, I know we have tons of injuries, but he has assembled a very good – and hugely expensive – squad.

The chairman has been fantastic, I just hope he chooses wisely [he has ‘form’ of making bad judgements … and no, that doesn’t include buying Forest] so I can look forward to next year filling me with false hope and promise.

Comment by Rob

Spot the victim.

Comment by DH

That photo you used for this post speaks volumes about you Rob.

Comment by DH

I honestly didn’t think of it like that. Oh god … that is so not what I meant it to reflect. ARGHHHH! Stop laughing Dave.

Comment by Rob

Great advice Robert, especially the point about starting at the bottom. That said, I am fairly certain that revelation only presents itself once you have reached the top.

Comment by George

I know it is your way to self depreciate, but you should not discount what people can learn from you. There are plenty of people on this blog who can testify to that. Just telling you to follow the advice you used to give to others.

Comment by George

who the fuck are you referring to because it sure as shit isnt me.

Comment by andy@cynic

@Andy. I learnt a lot about what not to do.

Comment by Bazza

You have more money than me George so I don’t know why you’re being so nice to me. But yes, point taken – but as I’ve always said, humans are hypocrites.

Comment by Rob

Great post with great advice. The “earn your stripes” message is especially important because it gives you the experience and credibility you need for clients to give you the bigger chances and opportunities.

Comment by Pete

Never take advice from a man that only drinks diet coke.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Especially diet coke with no lemon. What’s that all about?

Comment by DH

No Diet Coke for me. Not even without lemon. Since last years ‘incident’, I am on sparkling water … though you’ll be happy to know I hate lemon in that as well.

Comment by Rob

To match your personality?

Comment by John

You don’t need lemon. You’re sour enough.

Comment by DH

You are doing yourself a disservice Robert. Your achievements have come from hard work and embracing risk. That combination gives you a unique perspective to offer advice and you should not shy away from it.

Comment by Lee Hill

Taking risks was easy when you were basically bankrolling it. Ha. [But thank you, very sweet]

Comment by Rob

Brilliant. Although you are advising people not to listen to your advice.
I find it strange that this industry tends to discount people just as they’ve been around long enough to get enough experience to know what they’re talking about, but then again, there’s the complacent lot who settle into the same work over and over with a different client logo.

Comment by northern

Ha … yes, I realised that too.

I do worry how adland likes to devalue anyone of a certain age. Sure, some people – as they get older – adopt a ‘survival’ mentality rather than wanting to push their reputation [which is not a criticism, more a statement of fact] however not everyone is like that and yet adland prefers to ignore them … viewing their experience and knowledge as irrelevant compared to someone who looks the part, despite having never actually done any real work.

That’s why I love W+K. They value creativity rather than devalue age and the key people are all still massively involved. If you go to the Portland office, there’s a bunch of people there who have all been at W+K for 20 or 30 years … and yet their energy, knowledge and relevance is possibly greater than many of the young hip dudes that reside in many of the other agencies around the World.

Guess why these 2 posts still feels relevant to me, especially because if Dan Wieden wasn’t the founder of W+K and just at another agency, he’d be viewed – both internally and from an industry point of view – as someone that needed pensioning off, regardless of what he’s done and what he continues to do:

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Comment by Rob

Hi Rob! I’m reading from JWT Madrid. I’m strategic planner junior. I think just like you is important read and be interest in things out of the box (advertising) because give you inspiration, open and train your mind for do connections with things around the world with advertising and human behaviors. But on the other hand I’ve learned a lot of things reading about planners like you because I think when a good planner write he doesn’t write about advertising, often good planners write about the way that they see the world, and put his vision of the world to the service for other people and I think this is great if you read this and compare with your own vision of the same thing. You can get a lot of learnings that built your own planning vision. Sorry for my english, it’s a pleasure read your blog. Regards from Spain.

Comment by lbarba

You speak better english than Rob and spell better than northern. You just need to drop being nice and you can come back here anytime.

Comment by DH

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