January 12, 2014#

Keep your eye on the prize

Where I work December and January are the busiest months of the year so I’ve been putting in some long hours. It’s playing havoc with my best intentions to exercise more and write something outside of work. When I get home at nine ‘o’ clock my brain is tired and my stomach is empty. They want beer and peanuts not sit-ups. I suspect I’m not alone.

This blog post in the Harvard Business Review has some timely advice for new year’s resolutions gone awry. Some of the traps to avoid:

  1. You think you can’t, so you don’t.
  2. Goals that are too big or too distant.
  3. Going it alone.
  4. Neglecting to anticipate setbacks.

It’s easy to give up and go back to whatever wasn’t working before. The trick is to assess your situation, decide what you want and start taking steps in that direction.

One of Dave Trott’s homilies was  “You can have what you want or you can have your excuses for not having it.” His agency, GGT, produced some of the best advertising of its time and, in the process, trained some of the best creative minds in London who went on to start their own award-winning agencies.

Decide what you want. Put in the effort. And stay humble.

January 1, 2014#

Sharing is caring?

The first time I was asked to email a copy doc to an account executive I did it reluctantly. I could feel the control slip away as I hit return. I started in advertising in the stone age, pre-computer, when copy was presented to clients on letterhead and treated with some respect. If changes were necessary, the copywriter did it. Not the client, nor the account man.

But now, an uneasy feeling surfaces whenever I send copy to the designers and account handlers I work with because it’s so easy for them to change it. In an instant, sentences can go from good to bad. Whole paragraphs from other brochures are reenlisted for duty, replacing the original because the former has already been approved by the client. Nevermind that they are ill-suited for their new role.

Readers, who are the only people that matter to advertisers, get frustrated and turn away. But because it’s expedient, some people I work with continue to do it. I don’t know if they recognize the difference or don’t care.